Nairo Quintana says that his Movistar team will need a new strategy to win the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey after suffering a huge 2-53 minute blow from stage winner and new leader Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) in the stage 10 time trial in Montefalco.
Dumoulin sped through Umbria's famous vineyards to take victory and the pink jersey by 2-23 from Quintana. The Colombian 2014 Giro winner has a "very difficult" fight on his hands with two weeks remaining.
"Now, we have to make another strategy to get back the jersey," Quintana said crowded by journalists in the mixed zone.
"We have to cut two and a half minutes, and Dumoulin has the last day's [29.3-kilometre] time trial too. It will very difficult, but we are here to fight for the pink jersey."
Dumoulin clocked 50-37 over the 39.8kmcourse. When he arrived in the famous wine village, he pushed Team Sky's Geraint Thomas out of the hot seat by 49 seconds. Quintana arrived shortly after, clocking 53-30.
"I lost more time than I expected. I had good sensations, but I couldn't do better," Quintana said.
"My data was good, I think that there was no problem with coming off the rest day yesterday. It's just that, simply put, Dumoulin flew and I did my best, but it wasn't not enough to retain the jersey."
Quintana took over the pink jersey from Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) two days ago when climbing Blockhaus. Dumoulin surprised that day, however, by climbing in the mountains better than many had imagined.
"With the gap he has, and what he showed in the mountains," added Quintana, "he will be the principal rival."
The Giro d'Italia covers a technical stage through the Apennine Mountains tomorrow and two sprint stages before its next summit finish to Oropa on Saturday.
"This is less surprising than my performance at Blockhaus," Dumoulin said afterwards. "I am not surprised, I expected to take time today on Quintana.
"I am ahead with quite a bit of a time gap. The plan, already from the beginning, is to do well in the GC, and we will stay focused on that."
This is the first Grand Tour where Dumoulin is starting the race with the focused to win the overall. In the 2015 Vuelta a España, he started challenging for the overall only midway in. He led the race until the last mountain day, when he cracked under the attacks of Astana and its leader Fabio Aru.
"2-23 is a nice gap to have over Quintana before the mountains, but I lost several minutes in one day at the Vuelta, so I know by experience that the Giro is far from over."
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