Nairo Quintana showed why he’s considered as cycling next star by winning the Giro d’Italia to follow his runner-up finish in last year’s Tour de France. The 24-year-old climbing specialist with the Movistar team won two stages and finished with a 2 minute, 58 second advantage over fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran for his first Grand Tour victory.
“It’s really emotional,” Quintana said. “I didn’t think there would be so many Colombians here today. It was incredible seeing how much support and how many banners there were.” One such banner held aloft during the podium celebration with the Colombian flag on it read, “The Giro is ours. Gracias muchachos.” Quintana took the pink jersey by winning the grueling 16th stage over the Gavia and Stelvio climbs then also took the 19th leg, a mountain time trial.
Quintana finished second to Chris Froome in last year’s Tour. While he isn’t planning to enter the French race this year, he has designs on winning it next year. “We need to look at our plans carefully,” Quintana said. Giacomo Nizzolo of Italy finished second and Tyler Farrar of the United States was third, both with the same time as Mezgec.
Dressed entirely in pink, Quintana finished safely in the middle of the pack and pumped his fist as he crossed the line then hugged his teammates when he got off his bike. “I can finally say I’ve won the Giro,” Quintana said. “I have to thank my teammates and my family here supporting me.” Quintana is the first Colombian to win the race and with Uran, it was a sweep of the top two spots. Another Colombian, Julian Arredondo, won the mountains classification.