Quintana profits from fantastic Movistar teamwork en route to Alpe-d'Huez, leaves GC leader Froome (SKY) behind to climb up to 3rd overall

(Brief) Six days after the unfortunate mechanical incident that kicked Alejandro Valverde out of the 2nd position of the race, Movistar Team has got back into the 2013 Tour de France podium atop one of the most legendary summits in cycling. Nairo Quintana is now in 3rd place overall after making the strongest performance of all race favourites on stage 18, a 172-kilometer trek from Gap to Alpe d'Huez including six rated climbs. The Colombian always rode into the front positions of a bunch ridden by Sky, in pursuit of a nine-man early breakaway that featured Andrey Amador.

The Costa Rican wasn't able to follow the pace by Moser (CAN), Van Garderen (BMC) and eventual stage winner Riblon (ALM) into the first of two climbs towards the finish, but distributed his energy well and waited for his team-mates, the main group formed by just about 30 riders with Rubén Plaza and Jonathan Castroviejo picking up the pace through the Col de Sarenne (Cat-2). Joined by Amador, the three Blues led an impressively fast approach to the last Alpe d'Huez climb, where a first move from Alejandro Valverde was countered by race leader Chris Froome (SKY).

With Mollema and Ten Dam (BEL) dropped from the foot of the ascent, plus Contador and Kreuziger (TST) left behind midway, Quintana was the first one to respond to a second acceleration from Froome. Followed by Joaquim Rodríguez (KAT), the leaders stayed together before the final 5k, when Froome was dropped to eventually lost 1.06 at the finish. Nairo finished his effort in style, putting some seconds on Rodríguez to cross the line in 4th -with Valverde in 8th, just behind Froome.- The time won over the Saxo duo takes Quintana right into 3rd -just 21 seconds down on Contador- with two infamous Alpine stages ahead.

Article from Movistar Team News Blog