Quintana closes in on Giro victory

Nairo Quintana tightened his grip on the Giro d’Italia by claiming the mountain time trial stage 19 from Bassano de Grappa to Cima Grappa.

He extended his lead over fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran to over three minutes with two stages remaining.

What to expect on Saturday’s stage 20

“I’ve never ridden up Zoncolan but I’ve heard the horror stories. It’s steep, with gradients of more than 20%, long and narrow.

“The Zoncolan is where the smaller climbers can try and claw back any time they may have lost on the time trial.

“Colombian Nairo Quintana is the guy to watch out for on the ascent.”

Movistar rider Quintana was 17 seconds faster than Italian Fabio Aru over the 26.8km route.

Aru’s excellent ride saw him leapfrog Pierre Rolland of France to move into third place behind Uran.

It was Quintana’s second stage win of the Giro, following

his victory in stage 16

that put the 24-year-old into the race lead.

Italian rider Aru gave hope of a home victory for the local fans, but Quintana was relentless over the steep closing stages.

“I had a great feeling and I took full advantage of it, I was really well prepared,” said Quintana, who changed both his bike, as the gradient increased, and his helmet during the time trial.

“Tomorrow, I have a strong team to control the stage. I’ll try to attack when we get towards the top. Why not?

With the penultimate day of the Giro another testing mountain stage, a 167km route from Maniago to Monte Zoncolan, Quintana is well placed to be in the pink jersey when the race finishes in Trieste on Sunday.

Stage 19 result:

1. Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) 1:05:37″

2. Fabio Aru (Italy/Astana) +17″

3. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) +1:26″

4. Pierre Rolland (France/Europcar) +1:57″

5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/AG2R) +2:24″

6. Franco Pellizotti (Italy/Androni Giocattoli) +3:22″

7. Rafal Majka (Poland/Tinkoff-Saxo) +3:28″

8. Sebastian Henao (Colombia/Team Sky) +3:48″

9. Tim Wellens (Belgium/Lotto) +4:00″

10. Dario Cataldo (Italy/Team Sky) +4:10″

General classification:

1. Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) 79:03:45″

2. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) +3:07″

3. Fabio Aru (Italy/Astana) +3:48″

4. Pierre Rolland (France/Europcar) +5:26″

5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/AG2R) +6:16″

6. Rafal Majka (Poland/Tinkoff-Saxo) +6:59″

7. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC Racing) +9:25″

8. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands/Belkin) +9:29″

9. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada/Garmin) +10:11″

10. Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia/Trek) +13:59″

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/27640878

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