The 97th Giro d’Italia came to an end in Trieste, with the pint-sized Colombian climber Nairo Quintana (Movistar) winning the pink jersey ahead of Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Fabio Aru (Astana).
Cyclingnews.com covered the action minute by minute. In the aftermath of a sometimes controversial, always exciting edition, head to the site for features and analysis of the race. Here are the highlights of stages 18-21, including the challenging and race-defining 27km uphill time trial.
Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) continued the Colombian domination of the Giro by winning in the lofty heights of the Rifugio Panarotta. He was followed over the line by his compatriot Fabio Duarte (Colombia), who along Arredondo and Team Sky’s Philip Deignan (Team Sky) who was third, were part of a 14-man breakaway that went clear on the first climb. Back in the peloton, race leader Quintana was untroubled by attacks from his nearest rivals and kept his race lead steady.
This was the day Italy found a new champion in the making. Fabio Aru (Astana), blasted up the extraordinarily tough mountain TT to Cima Grappa in 1h 5m 54s, a full two minutes ahead of the nearest rider. Alas, it was not to be. The last rider off, Quintana – in pink helmet, jersey, shorts and some outrageously pink booties – won the race by 17 seconds. The powerful result by the young Colombian went a long way to neutralising the controversy caused on stage 16 over whether he gained an unfair advantage riding away from his rivals when many had been led to believe the descent of the Stelvio had been neutralised.
Monte Zoncolan is a climb to strike fear into the hearts of Giro d’Italia riders. And this year the tifosi, those crazy, up for anything, cycling fans, helped decide the race for the stage win by pushing Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF). The push was meant to help, but it pushed the rider off, allowing Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) to ride the last three excruciating kilometres to the summit alone. It was the Australian’s second stage win at this Giro. Back down the road, Quintana was given a bear hug by an exuberant Colombian fan, but at least he managed to stay upright and maintain his lead over Uran.
Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) was the best sprinter of those that made it to Trieste. The Giant-Shimano rider saw off Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) with some rough and tumble sprint tactics to help the Dutch team bookend their Giro with stage wins. Quintana got the camera bulbs flashing with his all-pink bike and kit. Quintana, age 24, became the first Colombian to win the race.