“I’m very happy today,” team Movistar’s Quintana said at 1712 metres. “I’m pleased we pulled it off.”
His pink jersey appears rosier now. Instead of 1-41, he leads with 3-07 (check) minutes over fellow Colombian Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
The Monte Zoncolan stage tomorrow remains the only challenge between today’s stage up Monte Grappa and Quintana becoming the first Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia on Sunday in Trieste. The road only climbs for 10.1 kilometres, but kicks up to 22%. It averages 11.9%.
“It’s not that I expected more today. I just have to be happy with the result,” Urán said.
“What will I do tomorrow on Zoncolan? It’s a very hard climb with a steep gradient. It’s going to be hard to make the difference given the hard gradients.”
Quintana, 24, won the stage and took the overall under controversy three days ago. He attacked on the snowy descent of the Stelvio Pass and gained two minutes. At Val Martello, the stage finish, He won with 4-11 minutes over Urán.
However, he clearly showed on Monte Grappa that he is stronger than Urán. Over the 26.8 kilometres, he improved. He trailed by 26 seconds at the first time check on the flats, but after switching to his climbing bike and to a normal road helmet, he gained time. He led by 36 seconds at the second time check mid-way up the climb and won with 1-26.
“Today I showed what the fans wanted to see,” Quintana added. “Tomorrow, I have a strong team to control the stage. I’ll try to attack when we get towards the top. Why not?”
Race leader Nairo Quintana increases his overall race lead with mountain time trial victory