Giro d'Italia (st. 15)
Colombian from Movistar Team crashes -no injuries sustained- at descent of Miragolo San Salvatore climb, still fights for victory in Bergamo: 2nd behind Jungels (QST), takes 6" bonus, now 2'41" behind Dumoulin (SUN)
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) got on Sunday through arguably his most difficult moment so far in the 2017 Giro d'Italia – and even gained some morale for the final week of racing as he finished 2nd in Bergamo, behind winner Bob Jungels (QST), in a furious 199km stage 15 -covered at almost 47kph average- which witnessed a crash almost ruining the Colombian's chances.
The man from Boyacá slipped off into a turn right through the descent of Miragolo San Salvatore (Cat-2), 33 kilometers from the finish. Quickly helped out by José Joaquín Rojas, who gave him his bike, Quintana completed the downhill just next to the reduced group of favourites. Nairo was later supported by four of his team-mates to make it back for good inside the GC peloton, as he changed the Spaniard's bike for one of his own Canyons. Nairo did not go through any other troubles and, after completing the difficult, cobbled finishing climb of Bergamo Alta (-3 km) within the selected group of contenders, came just short to claiming a surprise victory, taking 6" bonus in the process.
Quintana now sits 2'41" behind race leader Tom Dumoulin (SUN), while Andrey Amador jumps to 9th place (+6'01") as a disgraceful accident took Tanel Kangert (AST) out of the race. The 'Corsa Rosa' will now enjoy its final rest day in the Lombardy mountains before the Queen stage of this Giro resumes racing on Tuesday: 222km from Rovetta to Bormio, over the mythical climbs of the Mortirolo (Cat-1), Stelvio ('Cima Coppi') and Umbrailpass -the Swiss side of the former, also Cat-1- before a descent into the finish.
Nairo Quintana: “We were lucky to get unscathed through such a difficult momento with the crash, after such difficult descents, with the Bergamo Alta climb made so narrow by the fans… Happily, I could reach the finish without any other problems. Initially, when I got back on my feet after the crash, I was going with another team-mate's bike – that's why we decided to stop again, get mine back and have my team-mates bringing me back to the front of the group without major problems. At the final sprint I tried to go with an 'intelligent' approach, attempting to surprise our rivals, but with such a powerful rider as Jungels, it was difficult to take the win."