Tirreno-Adriatico 5: Quintana Rises Arms in the Snow Storm

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Esanatoglia-Terminillo, 197 km and snow is expected.
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Break of eight riders including Grivko, De Marchi, Monfort, Scarponi, Vicioso, Herrada, Voss and Montaguti are 4'50" ahead after 23km. After 76km they have 7'12".
Approaching the final climb the break-away has got 3'20". TFR chasing for Bauke Mollema. Team Sky controlling. Today Wout Poels can win or loose Tirreno.
The Terminillo is 16,1 km long and has an average gradient of 7,3%. Steepest parts up to 12%. 
Grivko is the first one to be left behind. De Marchi, Scarponi and Monfort  remain off the front but their gap in quickly decreasing. Team Sky has taken the lead and Kiryenka is pulling. 
Now Contador put all the team in front. Movistar is also working for Quintana and Visconti.
On the finish line is snowing.
10 km yet and Scarponi opens the gas: Monfort is dropped, De Marchi resists. They talk and keep on. Gap is 1'30''.
Embedded image permalinkKreuziger attacks from the peloton. Nieve catches him down. Big selection. In a decimated chasing group Ettix, Movistar and Tinkoff are collaborating in making troubles for Poels. But he looks good. Not good Nibali, at the back of the group.
5 km to go Scarponi goes solo. On the finish line is snowing hard.
4 to go Quintana attacks and gets a gap. Nibali is dropped. Contador, Uran and Pozzovivo respond.  Mollema, Yeates and Rodriguez follow while Poels is left behind.
Embedded image permalinkThey ease a bit and the chasing group is back together. Many attacks but nobody can go: Contador, Pinot, then Uran... In front Quintana joins and passes Scarponi. 2 km to go it's Mollema's turn: he gets a gap, joins and passes Scarponi. Contador, Pinot Pozzovivo and Yeates are chasing.
Embedded image permalinkQuintana is solo in the snow. Poels has got dropped, team mate Nieve tring to limit the damage. The landscape is white. Arm up on the misty line. Mollema is 2nd, then Rodriguez, Uran and Contador. 1'36'' is the delay when Wout Poels arrives. The Blue Jersey is for the new leader: Nairo Quintana.
Vincenzo Nibali sinks at 2'15''. 

Nairo Quintana:
"It's my first victory of the 2015. I dedicate my victory to my team and to my family".
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Bauke Mollema:
"What an epic finish in #TirrenoAdriatico! Happy with my result. Hard work pays off. Thanks @TrekFactory!"
“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.
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. I wanted to do a good performance today, and I am happy with what I did. Quintana was the strongest guy in the race today, but I finished second and took a good step towards the final podium.
Embedded image permalinkIt 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.” When prodded about his dynamic climbing style, he laughed. “Yah I think my style on the bike has improved last year already a little bit. I am trying to waste less energy and stay calmer, but it’s just my way -  when I go full gas, I just keep moving.

Well first we have to survive the stage of tomorrow, it’s a tricky finish, so that’s the first goal now. I have confidence for the TT, I did a good prologue and I have trained a lot on the TT bike in the last months.  We have been working specifically on that, so I hope to defend second place or at least stay on the podium.”

Embedded image permalinkRigoberto Uran:
"The queen stage today was difficult. 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."

Alberto Contador:
"The fact the finish was at the top of the climb meant that it wasn't much more difficult to reach it.
I don't like making excuses. Yesterday was a tough day due to my crash. Today, we performed quite well overall even though at the end we didn't finish further ahead.
Quintana's attack caught me a bit further behind in the group and I couldn't react instantly.
Everybody had eyes on me today and I was unable to do much more as there was nobody that wanted to pull at the front"

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
“Wout was up there against the best riders today. I think we proved that we are the number one team as we were still up there with full support even without our number one leader. And to still be up there riding for GC with a rider who is normally in a supporting role is quite impressive.
Obviously when you are in position and you lose the jersey you are a bit upset, but in the end Wout gave his maximum. That’s the most important thing. It’s tight on the GC and if we could manage to move up a couple of positions it would be nice.
It was quite close to the limit today in terms of conditions. On a day like this anything can happen. When it’s this cold the result at the finish line is not always the same as the legs”

Wout Poels:
“It was really hard, I gave everything, but that’s the result. It’s been a good experience. I’m now tenth overall and I hope to move up. I’ve learnt a lot this week with the team, it’s good for the future.
It was nice to have the jersey and we tried to defend it but when you loose it, it’s not nice. But that’s racing. It was good to have led the race and the team worked really hard so it’s a little disappointing to lose it but its still early season and we’ve still got the TT coming. We’ll see how the race ends.
I think it was quite okay to race. It was a little bit too much in the last two or three kilometres but it was okay.
Of course, I do think an Extreme Weather Protocol is a good idea, you have it in a lot of other sports, only not in cycling. It will be a good rule. But the weather didn’t really change the race. Quintana was really strong. I think he took something like 55 seconds on the second guy. I just wasn’t good enough to follow the best guys today.”

1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 5:26:03
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:41:00
3 Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha 0:55:00
4 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Etixx-QuickStep
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Prezemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 1:05:00
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC 1:10:00
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 19:54:45
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:39:00
3 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Etixx-QuickStep 0:48:00
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 0:57:00
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 1:03:00
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 1:04:00
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 1:06:00
8 Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha 1:07:00
9 Steven Cummings (GBr) MTN-Qhubeka 1:12:00
10 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 1:13:00
Race leader Nairo Quintana (MOVISTAR TEAM)
Points Peter Sagan (TINKOFF SAXO)
Youth Nairo Quintana (MOVISTAR TEAM). 2nd Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
Mountain Carlos Quintero (COLOMBIA)

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