Quintana Wins Mountain TT; Lengthens Lead in Giro d'Italia
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has tightened his grip on the 2014 Giro d’Italia by winning Stage 19. The Colombian dominated today’s 26.8-km mountain time trial from Bassano del Grappa to Cima Grappa, leading at both time checks en route to victory in 1:05:37. Fabio Aru (Astana) finished second at 0:17, and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finished third at 1:26.
Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF) set the early standard. His time, 1:12:19, stood for about half an hour. Sonny Colbrelli, Boem’s teammate, then posted a 1:12:03. Stefano Pirazzi, another Bardiani-CSF man, obliterated his teammates’ times with a 1:10:11.
Eventually, the GC contenders started. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) had a vested interest in a good result, as he began the day 0:02 out of third place overall. The Pole went into the barriers on a turn, however, and lost time getting back underway. His miscue would cost him more than three and a half minutes and a place on GC.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) had hopes of improving his position, but a dropped chain spoiled his ride. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) passed the Canadian and led the stage for a time. Cadel Evans (BMC), who had dropped out of contention in the Alps and the Dolomites, turned in a respectable ride to move up two places overall. Aru took the lead with a 1:05:54 and looked like a winner, particularly after Uran finished 1:09 behind him.
Quintana, however, took no prisoners. He was 0:08 faster than Aru at the first time check and 0:08 faster at the second. The Movistar man poured on the coal to extend his lead to 0:17 at the finish.
At the beginning of the stage, 1:30 separated places three through 10, and Uran trailed Quintana by 1:41. The time trial created another shakeup. Uran finished third at 1:26 and is now at 3:07, with Aru 0:21 in third. (He began the day in fourth at 3:31.) Pierre Rolland (Europcar) dropped from third at 3:29 to fourth at 5:26. Aru moved from fourth to third, while Majka dropped from fifth to sixth. Pozzovivo, who started the stage in sixth, took Majka’s fifth place. Hesjedal fell from seventh to ninth, while Evans jumped from ninth to seventh.
Quintana was determined to win the stage because his family had come to Italy to watch him race. “I’m really happy today,” the Colombian said. “It was a spectacular day. I felt really great through the time trial course. Above all, I enjoyed…all the crowd supporting me, wanting me to win this. Claiming this stage victory was too important. I didn’t want to say it before the stage, but mountain time trials are my strongpoint and I had to do it. I couldn’t let this past, even less after my family came from Colombia to watch me here. They gave me an extra gear. People asked me to leave an impression, and here's what I had to do to win the Giro.”
One more test awaits Quintana. It is Stage 20, the penultimate stage, which will be the last mountain stage of the race. The 170-km ride from Maniago to Monte Zoncolan will take the riders over the Category 1 Passo del Pura and Category 2 Sella Razzo before the racers take on the first category climb to the finish. Twenty seconds separate Uran in second from Aru in third. Pozzovivo leads Majka by 0:43, and 0:46 separate positions seven through nine. Look for aggressive racing on the day’s final climb. Check out www.roadcycling.com to find out who rises and who falls!