Tirreno-Adriatico (st. 4)
Quintana claims third win of the season, Movistar Team’s eighth in 2017 to lead Tirreno-Adriatico GC: serene as a true champion, breaking apart from favourites one by one after great work from Castroviejo & Blues
He replaced the extraordinary, explosive style he showed by letting his rivals behind with an only attack in 2015, and chose to tear his rivals apart, one by one, with a series of accelerations in the final kilometers. One way or another, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) fulfilled expectations to take the GC lead in Tirreno-Adriatico on top of the Monte Terminillo. The Colombian got full support from an excellent telephone squad: kept safe by Oliveira, Dowsett, Bennati and Sütterlin all the way towards the decisive, final 16km climb, climbers Moreno, Amador and most notably Jonathan Castroviejo were at the front in the decisive moments.
‘Castro’ took charge of covering a dangerous move by Simon Spilak (KAT) and Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY) from almost the foot of the climb, an attack that reached a 50-second gap over the main favourites. Remaining calm, going easy on the wheel of accelerations from Tom Dumoulin (SUN) or Adam Yates (ORS), the Colombian waited until the final 2.5km to launch his first move, reached down by only Yates, Thomas (SKY) and Urán (CDT). Two subsequent attacks from the ‘Cóndor de Boyacá’ were the decisive strike on his rivals, chasing down solo leader Spilak and winning with about twenty seconds that ciment a strong hold of the ‘Maglia Azzurra’.
33″ over Yates, 56″ to Pinot (FDJ) and 1’19” to Dumoulin -former leader Dennis (BMC) now sits at 1’01”- are a decent margin for Nairo heading into Sunday’s difficult climbs on stage five –210km, finishing in Fermo-. There, he will again count on support by a Blue squad that features two GC top-ten members -Castroviejo in 4th, Moreno in 9th-, a sign of overall strength by a Movistar Team that has claimed today its 8th success of the 2017 season.
Nairo Quintana: “It went all as we planned it, I’m really happy. I wasn’t really confident about my condition since I had got a bit sick during the last few days, sort of a flu. It has taken some energy off me during the week, and I don’t feel superb yet. However, the team was really great all week supporting me. All my team-mates kept me calm until the foot of the climb, and later on, Andrey and Dani were really attentive to those attacks, just like Castroviejo.
Our strategy was having all three taking care of those attacks, before the moves from the big favourites, and Castro really delivered. As the big moves came, I stayed on their wheels until I found the moment to attack and overtake them. I feel like experience and maturity give you a real edge in such moments – the older the better, and it really paid off today for me.
There’s still a couple of dangerous stages left; actually, I think Sunday will be harder than today. It’s a nice gap in the overall standings for us, though, one that we can manage well through both tomorrow and the ITT, so we can bring this jersey home on Tuesday. We’ve got a strong team and I’m hopeful we can fulfil that goal.”
Picture ©: BettiniPhoto.net