Giro 2014 Stage 16 Report: Quintana rides into pink

Nairo Quintana rode his way to pink after a tough day's racing saw a big GC shake up. Ryder Hesjedal took 2nd with Pierre Rolland 3rd. All 3 were part of a break that formed on the descent of the Stelvio. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 16th stage Giro 2014

1. Nairo Quintana (col)
2. Ryder Hesjedal (can) +0.08
3. Pierre Rolland (fra) +1.13
4. Wilco Kelderman (Nld) +3.32
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (ita) +3.37
6. Fabio Aru (ita) +3.40
7. Rafal Majka (pol) +4.08
8. Sebastian Henao Gomez (col) +4.11
9. Rigoberto Uran (col) s.t.
10. Cadel Evans (aus) +4.48

GC after stage 16
1. Nairo Quintana (col)
2. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 1.41
3. Cadel Evans (aus) + 3.21
4. Pierre Rolland (fra) +3.26
5. Rafal Majka (pol) + 3.28
6. Fabio Aru (ita) + 3.34
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (ita) + 3.49
8. Wilco Kelderman (Nld) + 4.06
9. Ryder Hesjedal (can) + 4.16
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) + 8.02

Race report
The weather today made a difficult stage into a near impossible one, with calls from some corners to cancel the stage (Patrick Leevere in particular, manager at Omega Pharma). A group of 9 eventually got clear after numerous attacks on the Gavia.

The 9 brave souls were Pellizotti, Cataldo, Vuillermoz, Chalapud, Rosa, Kiserlovski, Niemiec, Dupont and Pantano. The most interesting was Kiserlovski’s move as he was in 9th place on GC coming into the day. Perhaps he thought a cold and unmotivated peloton could be caught out.

With rumours of a neutralised Stelvio descent, this didn’t seem to filter through to the teams. Cataldo attacked, taking the Cima Coppi of first crossing the highest point in this year’s Giro, and then continued pushing on the descent.

The first GC shots were fired when Quintana, Rolland, Hesjedal, Sicard, Izagirre and Rabottini escaped on the descent of the Stelvio.

The group built up a lead that hovered for a long time at 1’40 before Quintana digged in on the lower slopes of the final climb. Roland followed comfortably while Hesjedal, looking to be in difficulty, joined at his own pace.

The trio quicky caught Cataldo and dropped him soon after. It now became Quintana against the world as the pink jersey group tried to bring him back. Although Uran had willing helpers in AG2R and Tinkoff-Saxo, Quintana was only extending his lead.

He eventually attacked Rolland and Hesjedal with a little over 7 kilometres left but was slowly pulled back by the gritty Canadian. With all 3 looking to gain on GC, Hesjedal and Rolland were not going to leave the wheel of the world’s best climber without a fight.

The following steep section of 14% was Rolland’s undoing. Hesjedal was also dropped but again managed to pull back to the Colombian when the road flattened out.

Quintana tried again in the final steep kilometre, opening up a gap that Hesjedal coudn’t close to take the stage win by 7 seconds.

Uran finished over 4 minutes down with 2nd place Cadel Evans even further back.

Giro 2014 Stage 16: Images and more

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Nairo Quintana

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