Movistar’s Nairo Quintana claimed victory in a dramatic and confused 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia yesterday to snatch the overall leader’s pink jersey from his fellow Colombian Rigoberto Urán’s shoulders.
Quintana, last year’s Tour de France runner-up, pulled away in a controversial descent from the Stelvio pass and increased the gap in the final climb of the 139-km trek from Ponte Di Legno.
There was confusion as organisers appeared to neutralise the race during that descent, made dangerous by the terrible weather conditions, but then told teams to ignore the instruction.
“Wrong communication: no neutralisation for the descent from the Passo dello Stelvio. Sorry for the wrong information,” the Giro’s official Twitter feed said in a message replacing an earlier one.
Not everyone was clear about it, however. “Neutralisation of the Stelvio-descent wasn’t brought to all team cars. Big confusion,” Team Saxo Tinkoff wrote on their Twitter feed.
Riding his first Giro, Quintana finished the stage eight seconds ahead of Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal as the Frenchman Pierre Rolland took third place 1:13 off the pace, according to provisional results.
Quintana now leads Urán, who finished the stage in ninth place and 4:11 down, by 1:41 with the Australian Cadel Evans in third place overall 3:21 behind.
“I don’t understand why there is a polemic. I made up more time on the climb, we didn’t make so much on the descent,” said Quintana.
It was a day to remember as riders went through gruelling moments in the Dolomites. Rain froze on the TV cameras as the riders went through a snowy Gavia pass before taking on the feared Stelvio climb. – Reuters