Paris-Nice (st. 8)
‘Cóndor’ from Movistar Team attacks 48km from finish at Côte de Peille, gets support from Carretero, Anacona and strong Marc Soler to come close to beating Bernal (SKY) overall in ‘Course to the Sun’ after impressive week.
He came so close to repeating his team-mate Marc Soler’s epic action in 2018 towards overall victory, and still became a huge protagonist of the final stage, where big champions usually shine. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) finished in a fantastic 2nd place overall in the 2019 Paris-Nice -behind fellow countryman Egan Bernal (SKY)-, an adjective supported by his irreproachable attitude throughout the entire eight-day race and most notably the 110km showdown around the city in the Côte d’Azur, with no less than six rated ascents.
It was with 48km remaining, at the foot of the Côte de Peille (Cat-1), when the ‘Cóndor’ took advantage of his team-mates Héctor Carretero, Winner Anacona and Marc Soler’s presence into a 37-breakaway to attack and bridge from a GC peloton one minute behind. Quickly ‘picked up’ by Carretero and Anacona, brought back to the group pursuing solo leader Tejay van Garderen (EF1), Nairo’s work together with his colleagues, most notably an excellent Marc Soler, helped him bridge back to the lead and open a gap which rose to nearly one minute at the last two climbs.
The strong job by Bernal’s team-mates and the moves at the leading breakaway -one of which saw Ion Izagirre (AST) taking the stage win- buried Quintana’s chances, the Boyacá native still able to finish on the podium, just 39″ behind the yellow jersey. That, in a week which marked the return to Quintana’s best competitive spirit: always attentive in the echelons, a solid time trialist in Barbentane on Thursday, then impressive on the weekend’s mountains.
REACTION / Nairo Quintana:
“We wanted to take team riders to the front to then try and attack into one of the climbs, take advantage from their strength at the front and create a ‘one to one’ situation between Egan Bernal and myself. We had three of my team-mates into the break, from which Marc Soler was the strongest and could push for a nice chunk at the front, and then it was a good fight until the end for me. We didn’t win the race, but we’ve tried all that we could in this final stage, where we thought we could take those chances. It’s true that we barely improved our result with that move, but today’s overview has lots of ups for me: my body feels great for the upcoming big races, we’re doing things right and I continue to enjoy bike racing a lot – which is the real important thing.”
Cover picture (c): ASO / Alex Brodway