Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the Tour of the Basque Country general classification on Saturday after placing second behind stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in the decisive final time trial in Beasain.
Paris-Nice winner and strong time triallist Richie Porte (Sky) had been widely expected to take the win, but the 23-year-old Colombian proved the stronger rider on the day. Porte finished fourth on the stage behind Martin, Quintana and Benat Intxausti (Movistar).
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Porte ended up second in the general classification, 23 seconds behind Quintana, with former race leader Sergio Henao (Sky) in third at 34 seconds. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) placed 10th in the time trial to finish in fifth place overall.
The decisive 24-kilometre time trial was far from flat, featuring three testing, spectator-lined climbs – the last of which averaged over 12 per cent gradient. Wet conditions and narrow roads added to the technical nature of the route that seemd to suit climbers more than pure power time triallists.
None of that deterred time trial world champion Martin, who blasted around the course in 35 minutes and five seconds to take the stage win. It’s his third individual time trial victory this season after stages of the Tour of Algarve (which he also won overall) and Tirreno-Adriatico.
Quintana’s victory in the WorldTour-level Tour of the Basque Country is the biggest of his career to date, and adds his name to the list of future Grand Tour contenders given that he won a mountain stage and was the only rider to get close to time trial specialist Martin in the final test against the clock. Earier this season, he won a stage of the Tour of the Algarve and rose to prominence last year with a stage win in the Criterium du Dauphine alongside overall wins in the Vuelta a Murcia and Route du Sud.
British rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky) was a non-starter for the time trial after withdrawing from the race during stage five on Friday.
Tour of the Basque Country 2013, stage six: Beasain to Beasain, 24km time trial
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 35-05-06
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 17 secs
3. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 32 secs
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 40 secs
5. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 48 secs
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r at 51 secs
7. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 57 secs
8. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r La Mondiale at 1-05
9. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-06
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1-07
Final overall classification
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 21-39-35
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 23 secs
3. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 34 secs
4. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 35secs
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 54 secs
6. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-18
7. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r at 1-19
8. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 1-57
9. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 2-47
10. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r at 2-56
Stage winner Tony Martin
Tony Martin on the podium
Flying the flag for Colombia: Nairo Quintana wins overall, with compatriot Sergio Henao (centre right) in third. Australian Richie Porte (centre left) was second
Tour of the Basque Country 2013: Related links
Stage five: Porte solos to stage win
Stage four photo gallery
Stage four: Quintana wins, Henao maintains lead
Stage three: Henao takes lead in Tour of Basque Country
Stage two: Gavazzi moves into lead
Tour of the Basque Country stage two photo gallery
Tour of the Basque Country stage one photo gallery