Monte Terminillo served up snow and ice to the riders of Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday, making for a freezing finale. Photos: Graham Watson/Roberto Bettini

Variously described as ‘epic’, ‘tough’ and ‘gruelling’, the snowy scenes from Sunday’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage five will be an all-too-familiar one for many British and northern European riders.

Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) prevailed in the arctic conditions to take the stage win at the Monte Terminillo ski station – a name which should have given away the snowy conditions that awaited the riders.

Although there was a dusting of snow on the road as Quintana crossed the line with his arms aloft, the snow actually got heavier for the gruppetto, making for a miserable haul up the mountain for the assorted collection of sprinters and domestiques. Many finished with helmets, bikes and beards laden with snow.

For his icy efforts, Quintana now leads the race ahead of Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory) by 39 seconds and with two stages of the Italian WorldTour race remaining.

Salvatore Puccio chases on stage five of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

The day started as normal, in dry and relatively warm conditions. Here, Salvatore Puccio leads the peloton

Matteo Tosatto in action during Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Matteo Tosatto wraps up warm and picks his way through the slippery conditions

Rick Flens in action during Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Rick Flens rides along the clear tyre tracks

Nairo Quintana in action during Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Some of the spectators were better dressed for the conditions as they watch Nairo Quintana

The chasing group were no match for Quintana. Photo: Graham Watson

The chasing group could not catch up with Quintana

Fabian Cancellara on stage five of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Fabian Cancellara looked like he was enjoying himself

Nairo Quintana wins Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Just about visible through the falling snow, Nairo Quintana takes the victory

Alberto Contador finishes Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Alberto Contador finished in fifth place on the stage

Team cars at the finish of Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Team cars at the finish

Dan Martin after stage five of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Dan Martin came home in 27th place

Louis Meintjes after finishing Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

South African Louis Meintjes was probably dreaming of warmer conditions back home

Leopold Konig on stage five of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

Leopold Konig tries to warm up at the finish

Nairo Quintana on the podium after winning an epic Stage 5 of the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

The snow kept on falling as Nairo Quintana celebrated his win on the podium