Tour de Suisse (st. 5)
Colombian climber -supported by strong Movistar Team, up to 20 wins in 2018- deploys all his class over Arosa climb with long-range attack, opening his victory account of the season and now sitting in 2nd overall.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) claimed one of his most brilliant wins as a pro during Friday’s stage seven of the 2018 Tour de Suisse. Enormous climbing quality and power, combined with a well-driven Telefónica-backed squad in the key phases of the race, saw the Colombian taking to fruition a 30km attack into the long Arosa climb to open his victory account of the current season.
As Víctor de la Parte made part of the big breakaway -29 riders- which led for almost the entire stage and Daniele Bennati keeping gaps close at the main group, Quintana did not hesitate to jump off the front of the GC group at the foot of the first of two tough sections in the climb, quickly overtaking many of the escapees. The Blues’ strategy started to pay off as, when Nairo already had 25″ on race leader Richie Porte (BMC) and other contenders -including Mikel Landa-, De la Parte was joined by Nairo and started taking big turns which helped the Colombian easing off before the finale. Back at group two, Landa attacked to try and break the pace by Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), who was still able to get his leader to just 20″ behind at the start of the final kick uphill (4km to go).
Porte couldn’t ultimately bridge back in those final kilometers to Quintana, who raised his arms victorious for the 38th time as professional rider, bringing the Movistar Team up to 20 wins in 2018 in the process. Nairo climbs up to 2nd overall, 17″ behind Porte, before the last two stages in Bellinzona: a semi-urban circuit for the sprinters (123km), on Saturday, and a decisive, 34-kilometer ITT on Sunday.
REACTION / Nairo Quintana:
“I wanted to see what my real form was, and fortunately, I’m feeling great at the moment! The team’s work was really good, with everyone taking efforts from the very beginning of the stage and as far as they could. We put Bennati to push at the front of the bunch on the flat before the climb, trying to keep the breakaway close and taking advantage from Víctor’s position to bridge back and get further. De la Parte was fundamental up there on the flat between the climbs, pushing as much as he could for as long as possible. And in the end, it was my task – Mikel was also trying to attack the GC group and destroy the pace by BMC, just like I asked him to do.
“The whole strategy worked well, and it makes us happy, both the team and myself, to get things working and also being able to bring a victory to our DS José Luis Arrieta, who was celebrating his birthday in the team car today. It also goes to all of my team-mates, because they were superb today.
“It’s important for one’s own body and the whole squad to see ourselves doing great before the Tour de France. It was a big test for us today, and there’s another one awaiting on Sunday. We’ll have to ride strong on the flat, defend ourselves well and do our best. These nine days of racing have helped us building up calmly for July, and hopefully they’ll bring us some luck, too!”
Picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport