Paris-Nice (st. 5)
Colombian climber from Movistar Team loses just over half a minute against GC leader Kwiatkowski (SKY), Sánchez (AST), Bernal (SKY); sits now 1’05” behind yellow as Marc Soler takes 9th in the stage.
Following on a series of good results and feelings on the bike ever since the race started in Saint-Germain-en-Laye last Sunday, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) offered yet another fine performance on Thursday’s stage five of the 2019 Paris-Nice, a key test over the 25.5km ITT course in and around Barbentane.
The ‘Cóndor of Boyacá’ notched up 17th in the day, just over 1′ behind winner Simon Yates (MTS), as the varying, strong wind gusts did not prevent the Cómbita native from limiting losses against bigger riders, more suited to such an effort on the TT bars. The race leader, Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY), finished just 42″ ahead of Nairo, with Egan Bernal (SKY) 38″ better and Luis León Sánchez (AST) barely 23″ quicker than Quintana, who improved the time clocked by the likes of Romain Bardet (ALM), Miguel Ángel López (AST), George Bennett (TJV) and Ilnur Zakarin (TKA). In turn, Marc Soler got back to his best form for a very decent 9th place in the stage, just 30″ slower than Yates.
With Quintana now sitting in 6th place overall, 1’05” off the race lead, the ‘Race to the Sun’ will offer an intriguing finish in Brignoles on Friday (176km), suited for sprinters, attackers or GC contenders alike, before the huge mountain stage towards the Col de Turini on Saturday.
REACTION / Nairo Quintana:
“All things considered, it’s a time trial to be really happy and satisfied about today. The result and feelings were good, despite obviously not being the best terrain for me. Also the wind, which made the bike swerve a lot and required an extra effort to keep rolling. I think I defended myself well, so I’m hopeful about what we can do in the three days remaining in Paris-Nice. It’s all about the mountains now – I hope I can be up there with the top contenders on Saturday, hopefully get a good result so we can fight on and have some motivation for the biggest races of the season, or at least continuing to build up on what we’ve been doing so far in this race, which has been good.”
Cover picture (c): Roberto Bettini / BettiniPhoto.net