Movistar Team's Quiintana only man brave enough to combat Contador's hammer through the Passo Lanciano, sits now in 2nd overall before Tuesday's TT showdown.

At almost two months' distance from his first big battle of the 2014 season in the Giro d'Italia, Nairo Quintana completed today a notable first approach to the mountains in the cycling spring. Despite being still far from his best condition, the Colombian talent from the Movistar Team showed his commiment at the Passo Lanciano, demanding climb preceeding the infamous Muro di Guardiagrele on stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico (191km), where Alberto Contador (TCS) shattered the competition to take his second stage win and the overall leadership.

It was the task for the telephone squad's riders to take responsibility into the bunch to chase the break -which took a massive, 12-minute margin- and split the group. When Igor Antón attacked after just 3k into the ascent, only thirty riders survived in the field. Nairo Quintana would follow his team-mate to start an unsuccessful first attack with Contador, which was followed by another move from the Spaniard, halfway through the climb. The gaps opened quickly against Nairo, joined by Mikel Nieve (SKY), Giampaolo Caruso (KAT), Jean-Christope Péraud and Domenico Pozzovivo (ALM) for a difficult pursuit into the final ramp -over 30% gradient-. Nairo crossed the line in 11th spot, 1'50" down.

I tried to wreck the field, but things didn't go as I planned - he was stronger than me, it was a really nice victory. I'm building my form steadily; these races are great for my Giro fitness, so I can offer some real fireworks there,” explained Quintana, whose 2nd place overall will be at stake on the final, 9km ITT in San Benedetto on Sunday, where he will defend his 7secs over Kreuziger (TCS), 31" on Arredondo (TFR) and 32" against Péraud (ALM). Before that, a flat stage (189km) will take the riders to Porto Sant'Elpidio, courageous and fast ones called for victory.