Epic Day in Tirreno-Adriatico


Nairo Quintana blew apart the Tirreno-Adriatico overall classification in the snow as he claimed his first victory of 2015, Adam Yates 7th on the stage, now 6th overall

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Epic Day in Tirreno-Adriatico

Nairo Quintana blew apart the Tirreno-Adriatico overall classification as he claimed the first victory of his 2015 with one of his best performances since he jumped into the WorldTour with the Movistar Team. The Colombian climber is the new leader of the Italian race after a splendid performance through the Terminillo, only mountain-top finish of the ‘Corsa dei Due Mari’, after a long, 194km stage five in cold, rainy, even snowy conditions in the finale, all the way from the start in Esanatoglia, in the heart of the Appennines.


Nairo Quintana: “I’m really happy. Claiming my first win of the season and doing it that way made me feel over the moon – that’s why I celebrated like that. It was a very fast stage, difficult to handle, especially with the cold conditions, but thanks to my team, who supported me all the way, always helping out, I could reach the final climb with the energy I needed and take my tactics to fruition with that final attack”.

“I want to thank them immensely for their support and dedicate this victory to them, as well as my family, for all the joy they bring to me. There was an instant, with 5k to go, when I saw myself feeling especially well, looked around and couldn’t see anyone showing strong enough to follow me. I jumped away in those two occassions, I saw no one could follow me and kept pushing until the very end. There’s still one long road stage on our way – let’s hope we don’t come across any difficulties there, so we can fight into the TT to defend this jersey.”

It was an epic summit finish to the 197-kilometer queen stage in Tirreno-Adriatico Sunday as riders endured a snow-enshrouded finale in the first big test of the general classification. The 196.9km stage was always likely to be a decisive test and so it proved on a difficult day in freezing conditions. Early on, eight riders pushed clear and built up an advantage of seven minutes on the way out of Esanatogila. The strong group was pegged by Team Sky who set out to defend a 17-second overnight lead for Poels.

As the final climb approached, more teams began to arrive at the front and the group thinned out significantly as Siutsou and Kiryienka churned out a tempo. Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) upped the pace with 7km to go but it was Quintana who really began the fireworks with his stinging move.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) tried to accelerate a kilometre later but the stop-start pace only served to help Quintana who continued to streak clear. Poels finally lost contact as the race broke apart in the blizzard, with Quintana emerging as the new holder of the Maglia Azzurra.

Tirreno-Adriatico Generic

Quintana (Movistar) made his move early with 4.8km to go and distanced his nearest rivals to the tune of 41 seconds at the snow-covered finish. Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) came closest to the Colombian, taking second on the day, while Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) led home a group of chasers a further 14 seconds back.

Mollema said after the stage “The plan was to wait because it is a long climb and a big road also, so you can save energy in the wheels. I wanted to wait until the last 5k. And there were already some attacks and then Quintana was gone. After, some guys kept attacking and I followed all the time. I saw everyone was on the limit with the attacks so I felt it was time to go myself. I went full gas for 30 seconds and I saw I had a gap so then I just gave everything to the finish until then.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Mollema

“I knew that Quintana had 25 seconds and they were only 15 seconds behind so that motivated me to give everything to the finish,” continued Mollema. “I looked at my SRM and my [power] numbers and tried to stay above 400W. It was a headwind all the time – that made it really hard – and in the back, if you work together you have an advantage. I was counting the kilometers to the end.”

“I felt good all day, all week actually, and I was really looking forward to today’s uphill finish,” explained Mollema. “Quintana was the strongest guy in the race today, but I finished second and took a good step towards the final podium.”

“It was heroic with this weather on the last climb. We were really lucky it was dry, more or less, until the finale and only snow for the last 2-3k, otherwise it would have been crazy going up the climb.”

Third for Joaquim Rodriguez on the stage
“In the end, we were lucky that the snow was only in the last kms. Otherwise it would have been a disaster, another historical stage in cycling. I had a good day. This climb is for riders climbing with force and I am the more explosive type of rider, so I am happy with my result. I need to take advantage of my strong finish. So when Quintana went, I knew it was too far for me to go with him. On the other hand, it was spectacular what he did”.

Rigoberto Uran now 3rd on GC
“The queen stage today was difficult,” Uran said. “I felt good on the last climb of Terminillo. The team did a great job, especially Gianluca who did a great job setting the tempo for me on the last climb. But when Quintana attacked I doubted a little bit because I thought it was still far from the finish line, especially with the strong headwind, and we still had a good group of riders behind, so I figured it was too early. At one point we were about 50 meters from him, but he accelerated again and there was nothing we could do”.

“Quintana deserved the victory today as he did a good attack and he resisted, and he crossed the line with an advantage. So congratulations to him. Today was also difficult because of the weather conditions. The snow in the final made it hard to pedal, and there were some tricky corners in the last kilometers where we had to stay focused as it was slippery. If we had arrived a few minutes later it would have been even more difficult as it started snowing really heavy”.

“I feel bad also for the gruppetto, as their later arrival was when the conditions were far worse. Our guys who crossed at that time were really shivering because of the snow and cold. But, fortunately, everyone on the team finished the race. Concerning me, I am happy with my result. If I compare my performance this year with last year at this time at Tirreno-Adriatico, I have to be satisfied”.

“Last year I had some stomach problems that immediately put me out of contention. This year, without that kind of complication I showed I can be there to contest the stages and possibly the GC. Now I am 3rd overall, but I can count on the time trial in the final day to try to improve my classification. It won’t be easy, as Mollema is a good time trialist and Quintana has almost a minute advantage. I have to be realistic, but in cycling you always have to try and see what may be the result.”

Impressive Yates finishes 7th on queen stage
2014 Tour of Turkey champion Adam Yates put in a strong ride to finish seventh on the queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and move into sixth overall. Yates traded punches with some of the biggest names in cycling on the decisive climb on stage five, finishing in a small group 55 seconds behind solo winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team).

The performance moves the 22-year-old into sixth place overall, one minute and four seconds behind Quintana, who moved into the race lead with today’s victory. “It was going to be a big test as the first long climb of the season,” sport director Matt White said. “For Adam to finish in the group that he did, amongst the world’s best climbers, is a very good indication that his winter preparation has gone exactly how we wanted it to.”

“I was not surprised today. I was surprised last year with some of the rides he did and second year around it’s not a great surprise he is at that level again. We have a lot of races to come this year and it’s an exciting prospect for us to take in when he can match these types of riders at a young age.”

Steve Cummings hangs tough to keep top 10 GC place
“The lead up to the climb was pretty regular. All the guys are going well so they were all up there protecting me and giving me the support throughout the stage. Edvald was even with me for the first 5km’s of the climb today as well. I tried to ride a clever race on the climb, not following the small climbers attacks but rather measuring my effort and just trying to stay in contact”.

“I think it worked out well in the end. We have a good chance for the stage win tomorrow and the guys are super motivated so this is our next objective before I try empty the tank on the final time trial”.

Although the final standings are well sorted after today’s mountain ending, with two stages remaining – the final day a flat 10-kilometre time trial – the fight for the final podium is not over.

1. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team 5:26:03
2. Bauke Mollema, Trek Factory Racing 0:00:41
3. Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha 0:00:55
4. Rigoberto Uran, Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ.fr
7. Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge
8. Domenico Pozzovivo, AG2R La Mondiale
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec, Lampre-Merida 0:01:05
10. Damiano Caruso, BMC Racing Team 0:01:10

11. Stephen Cummings, MTN – Qhubeka
27. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
127. Alexander Porsev, Team Katusha 0:26:41
136. Ian Stannard, Team Sky
139. Mark Cavendish, Etixx – Quick-Step
144. Daniele Bennati, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:28:20
147. Zakkari Dempster, Bora-Argon 18
160. Sam Bennett, Bora-Argon 18

1. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team 19:54:45
2. Bauke Mollema, Trek Factory Racing 0:00:39
3. Rigoberto Uran, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:48
4. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ.fr 0:00:57
5. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:03
6. Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:01:04
7. Domenico Pozzovivo, AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:06
8. Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha 0:01:07
9. Stephen Cummings, MTN – Qhubeka 0:01:12
10. Wouter Poels, Team Sky 0:01:13
1. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team 19:54:45
2. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ.fr 0:00:57
3. Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:01:04

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