No-one had any answer to his explosive move 6km from the finish-line summit, including blue jersey-wearer Wout Poels, who cedes the overall lead to the Colombian.
In scenes reminiscent of some of his performances at the Giro d'Italia last year, Quintana battled against cold conditions and even snow in the final kilometre of the climb to comfortably outclass the rest of the strong field.
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Factory Racing) was next over the line 41 seconds back, while Joaquim Rodriguez won the sprint for third in a 6-man group that also included pre-race favourite Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Britain’s Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge).
It was a hugely impressive performance from Yates, who looked at home riding alongside some of the best climbers in the world, and now moves up to sixth overall.
Contador, on the other hand, was left frustrated by his inability to catch Quintana. Having failed to latch on to the Colombian’s wheel, Contador spent the rest of the climb trying to shed the other riders and set off in pursuit by himself, but each time finding the others slowly claw their way back to his wheel.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was also constantly on the attack in a group but suffered the same fate as Contador, and the only rider able to successfully slip off the front was Mollema, who gained enough time to move up to second in the overall classification.
Despite good work from Team Sky at the front of the peloton, yesterday’s winner Wout Poels could not match the pace set towards the top of the mountain, and was dropped in the aftermath of Quintana’s attack. He falls to tenth overall.
The break of the day consisted of eight, which eventually was reduced to three – Michele Scarponi (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) and Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal) - on the Terminilo. Scarponi was the last survivor from this trio, but did not have enough of an advantage over the bunch to make it to the finish, and was passed by Quintana with 3.5k to go.
Quintana now has two stages to defend his lead, starting with tomorrow’s hilly stage to Porto Saint’Elpidio.
Tirreno-Adriatico stage five: Esanatoglia – Monte Terminillo
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 5-26-03
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Factory Racing at 0-41
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 0-55
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx-Quick Step
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r all at same time
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1-05
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 1-10
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 19-54-45
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Factory Racing at 0-39
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx-Quick Step at 0-48
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0-57
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-03
6. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-04
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r at 1-06
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 1-07
9. Steve Cummings (GBr) MTN-Qhubeka at 1-12
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 1-13
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1