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by Neal Rogers
May 23, 2017
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Dumoulin confident in maglia rosa as Giro d’Italia heads into high mountains; Quintana meets the press on Giro d’Italia rest day: ‘We hope to see Dumoulin fade in the third week’; Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden dies following cycling cycling accident in Italy; Sagan, Kittel head to Utah, Colorado for pre-Tour altitude training; Five WorldTour teams announced for Ster ZLM Tour; Video: Tom Dumoulin’s Giro d’Italia Stage 14 victory, through the eyes of the Sunweb support staff; Video: Rupert Guinness chats with Adam Hansen about racing with suspected bone fracture at Giro d’Italia; Video: Kitten can’t stop licking cyclist who saved his life.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) met with the media Monday at the Giro d’Italia to discuss his outlook on unseating race leader Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) in the final week of the race, which delivers six stages, including four high-mountain days in the Alps and Dolomites and a final, individual time trial in Milan. The Colombian sits second overall, 2:41 behind the maglia rosa. Quintana crashed Sunday on Stage 15, but was able to rejoin the front of the race when Dumoulin slowed the bunch to allow him back on.
“I’m in a worse place than I was before the crash, but to be honest, I’m doing better than what could have been if the crash were a real bad one,” he said. “It was only a scare. I’ve got a couple of [bruises] over my body, but it shouldn’t affect by condition or performance. Dumoulin’s gesture, when he told his riders to stop, was beautiful. It’s true that we would probably have made it back thanks to my team in any case, but it would have taken a bigger effort. It was a gentleman’s move, and we thank him for that.”
Quintana was asked specifically about Tuesday’s queen stage of the race, which includes the the ‘Passi’ of Mortirolo and Stelvio, with two trips up the Stelvio Pass.
“Tomorrow’s outcome depends entirely on how the stage starts,” he said. “We don’t know whether it will be a fast start or a slow one. Surely many times would like to have people go for the early break, and we must also keep an eye on it because it might turn decisive. We hope to create some gaps at the finish, even if it’s not a mountaintop finish. It’s also known that some of our rivals are skilled descenders, but we will still take the chance and try to make up some time at the end. I don’t have any more fear to the downhill sections because of yesterday’s crash, it hasn’t really been a problem of mine.
“Of course there will be some riders who will go on the attack into descents, but I feel like the biggest difference in the upcoming stages will be done on the climbing sections. Tomorrow’s stage is a really tough one, where we all could also pay after all the wear and tear we’ve gone through in this Giro. It’d be good for me to have a fast-paced race tomorrow, but we must keep our minds on what will be ahead of us after Tuesday, because some stages which seem less difficult than tomorrow’s could become even more dangerous and destructive.”
Quintana said he has been impressed by Dumoulin’s performance, particularly on the Oropa climb on Stage 14, and that he can only hope the Dutch rider tires out in the third week.
“We’ve already seen him performing at such a level in the Vuelta a España two years ago,” Quintana said. “Becoming the race leader after a long TT and then remaining behind the wheel of the strongest climbers in the toughest days — he already did that. We only saw him cracking on the last real day of the race, at a big mountain stage. We’ve also had some big climbs so far in the Giro, and he defended himself perfectly. It’s not a surprise for me to see him wearing pink, but rather how he’s going — he’s much stronger than expected. He’s proving to have come to this race in excellent form, and up to this moment, we haven’t seen any real weakness from him. He left all of us climbers behind in Oropa. We’re yet to see if he remains as consistent in the climbs coming up from Tuesday, which will be really long. Our hope is to see him fading a bit in this third week while we continue to grow, with every mountain stage containing more than one climb. Theoretically, there are four or five riders who could win this Giro other than him, and these stages suit us really well.”