Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) won today’s Queen stage of the Vuelta Asturias Julio Alvarez Mendo (2.1) and now sits in 2nd place on GC ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.
The Colombian won at the summit of Alto del Acebo after a hellish stage where the riders faced cold, rain, wind and even snow on the final ascent.
It was his fifth win of the 2017 season and shows he’s in good form ahead of his forthcoming challenge for a second Giro d’Italia title.
An early breakaway was brought back as the peloton approached the final climb. Nairo’s brother Dayer then chased down a dangerous attack by Federico Canuti (d’Amico – Utensilnord) and Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) before Nairo himself attacked with 2.5 kilometres remaining.
The runner-up on Saturday’s stage Raul Alarcon (W52/FC Porto) was the only rider able to stick with Quintana and the Spaniard hung on for second and now moves into the leader’s jersey.
The Vuelta a Asturias finishes in Oviedo tomorrow after a short 125-kilometre stage which includes the late climb and descent of the narrow, treacherous Alto del Violeo (Cat-2).
Nairo Quintana: “I’m really satisfied with how things went, with my preparations and this victory, too. I felt my legs responding well to all that we did before coming back to Europe – we’re on the right path to tackle that big challenge in front of us successfully. For me, coming to Asturias has already been satisfactory. Let’s hope we can finish things off tomorrow in one piece. It was a really cold day, also a dangerous one since we had to go through all those wet descents. We all really suffered, it was tough – yet we’re sort of getting used to these days. It’s been quite a few times now where we had to finish on top of a mountain covered in snow, after getting through foul conditions.
“I just followed the wheels into the first part of the climb, well supported by my team, and when the real selection got formed, I sent Dayer forward to try and tear things apart a little bit more. Once the group was all the strung out I wanted, I went on my own pace, took Alarcón on my wheel and sought for the stage win. I feel ready for what’s to come – let’s just hope the level I reached here is enough to do well in the beginning of the Giro.”