Giro d'Italia: Nairo Quintana completes overall victory as Luka Mezgec wins stage 21
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 01/06/14 6:51pm
Nairo Quintana completed overall victory of the Giro d’Italia after safely negotiating a final stage into Trieste won by Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec.
Quintana finished just behind the peloton to seal a 2min 58sec triumph over runner-up and fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran, with Italy’s Fabio Aru claiming the last place on the podium, 4min 4sec back.
Quintana is the first Colombian winner of the Giro and only the second rider from his country to win a Grand Tour, joining 1987 Vuelta a Espana champion Luis Herrera.
Quintana took the lead of the race by climbing to victory on stage 16’s summit finish at Val Martello and then put the maglia rosa out of the reach of his rivals by triumphing on stage 19’s mountain time trial on Cima Grappa.
The 24-year-old Movistar rider, who also topped the best young rider classification, said: “It is very difficult to explain how much happiness is inside me. It’s one of the happiest days of my life. Thanks to my family, thanks to my team and thanks to all the Colombians. It is fantastic that this dream has come true.”
Mezgec claimed his first Grand Tour stage win by outsprinting second-placed Giacomo Nizzolo and third-placed Tyler Farrar on the seafront in Trieste.
The Giant-Shimano rider said: "I was a little bit under pressure because there were a lot of Slovenians coming here today and I was really hoping for this stage to do a good result. It cannot be better than this."
The three-week race concluded with a 172km stage to the Adriatic coast that ended with eight laps of a 7.2km circuit in Trieste. The circuit contained a short and moderately steep climb, and the non-sprint teams attacked on both of the last two ascents in a bid to foil a bunch finish.
The sprint squads of Team Sky, Trek Factory Racing and Cannondale managed to snuff out any breakaways, but it was Mezgec who launched a late surge to claim a famous win. FDJ rider Nacer Bouhanni finished fourth to seal victory in the points classification.
Mezgec added: "It was tough but the roads were big and it was not that hectic. On the climb we all knew we have to do our best to stay in the front. I did it and also in the end I was pretty fresh in the sprint."
Quintana's win ensured that Colombian riders claimed three of the four jerseys on offer at the race, with Julian Arredondo having already sealed victory in the mountains classification.
Stage 21 result
1 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano, 4:23:58
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing, same time
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, st
4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, st
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
6 Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia, st
7 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha, st
8 Tosh van der Sande (BEl) Lotto Belisol, st
9 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana, st
10 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, 88:14:32
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +2:58
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +4:04
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar, +5:46
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-LA Mondiale, +6:32
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo, +7:04
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, +11:00
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +11:51
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp, +13:35
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing, 15:49