Superb Movistar teamwork all day supporting mighty Quintana to seize Giro d'Italia leader's jersey in chaotic Val Martello stage, one of the hardest in recent years.

(Brief) In one of the most hellish days in the recent history of the Giro d'Italia, with rain and snow over almost the entire 139km stage sixteen from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello (Cat-1) -including two other legends of the Corsa Rosa, the Passo Gavia (Cat-1) and the Passo dello Stelvio (Cima Coppi)-, Nairo Quintana and the Movistar Team have stricken back after their suffering to claim one of the most important stages in this year's course and wear the maglia rosa, following offensive tactics almost from the start of the stage.

Amador and Capecchi picked up the pace from halfway through the ascent towards the Gavia, stringing out the group as Quintana's other team-mates -Antón, Izagirre, Castroviejo and Herrada- bridged into the first, difficult descent. Always with the Blues taking charge of the pace into the selected group at the Stelvio, the downhill split the group into pieces, with just six units including Quintana and Frenchman Pierre Rolland (EUC) as only GC contenders. The excelent job by Izagirre, as well as Sicard's in favour of Rolland, made the group reach the foot of Val Martello with more than a minute and a half's advantage. There, Quintana went into full action by himself -just a couple of turns by Rolland in the beginning, plus other one from Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (GRM), the last one to keep his wheel, in the end of the ascent- and increased the gap to the other favourites, second by second. Kelderman, Pozzovivo and Aru finished three and a half minutes behind; former leader Urán crossed the line after more than four minutes; and Evans, second overall, lost nearly 5'.

Nairo's sensational victory -taking him into the lead, with 1'41" over Urán and 3'21" to Evans, with five days to go- has become Movistar Team's 15th success of the season and the 18th by the Colombian since he turned pro. Quintana is the foutth rider under the direction of Eusebio Unzué –Miguel Induráin, David Arroyo and Beñat Intxausti being the other ones– to wear the maglia rosa after nineteen appearances of the team in the Corsa Rosa. Wednesday will bring the theoretically last calm day in the Giro -208km between Sarnonico and Vittorio Veneto- before three consecutive mountain-top finishes set to decide the race: Rifugio Panarotta (Thursday), the Monte Grappa TT (Friday) and the Monte Zoncolan, on Saturday.

Giro d'Italia

Results / Stage 16


Stage results

Riders overall

  • 1st    Quintana   (MOV)   4.42.35
  • 2nd    Hesjedal   (GRS)   0.08
  • 3rd    Rolland   (EUC)   1.13
  • 4th    Kelderman   (BEL)   3.32
  • 5th    Pozzovivo   (BAR)   3.37

Movistar Team results

  • 1st    Nairo Quintana   4.42.35
  • 32nd    José Herrada   26.35
  • 46th    Eros Capecchi   31.35
  • 48th    Andrey Amador   m.t.
  • 50th    Igor Antón   m.t.
  • 52nd    Jonathan Castroviejo   m.t.
  • 56th    Gorka Izagirre   m.t.
  • 100th    Adriano Malori   39.33
  • 115th    Fran Ventoso   m.t.