The Movistar Team ended their first-ever appearance with a full team on a high note at the 1st edition of the Colombia Oro y Paz, and only a short miss in the final general classification prevented the Eusebio Unzué-managed squad from turning this week’s racing into a complete success. Dayer Quintana raised his arms in Manizales as winner of the final stage -184km of lumpy roads from Armenia to Manizales-, while his brother Nairo finished only eight seconds behind the goal of retaining a pink jersey his team-mates fought for hard all day long.
Dayer was part -together with Antonio Pedrero- of a 33-rider break which gained four minutes on the bunch. Behind the group, the excellent work from De la Parte, Anacona and Carapaz -plus Antonio himself, who dropped back to help Nairo out through the grueling, 22km climb from Chinchiná- kept the leaders at a reasonable distance, as five riders from the leading field were within two minutes from Nairo in the GC. While Contreras (EPM) attacked from long to seek for a stage win, which Dayer neglected into the unending final kilometer, the fight between the GC contenders did not started until that very ramp, where Bernal (SKY) left the other contenders behind and secured a surprising triumph in front of Nairo (2nd) and Rigoberto Urán (EFD, 3rd).
Dayer’s win marks the 25-year-old’s third success in the pro scene, after his win on top of the Kitzbüheler Horn on the Queen stage of the 2014 Tour of Austria and the 2016 Tour de San Luis GC. It also means the Movistar Team is up to four victories so far in the 2018 season, the Blues completing a week full of good performances and made even bigger by the support by a country which has long considered this organisation and project as part of their sporting success.
Dayer Quintana: “Our plan was to get into all big breaks, and we succeeded when Pedrero and I joined that 30-rider group. The dangerous riders on the GC weren’t that really close, but we knew we had to keep an eye on Sevilla and Sebastián Henao specifically in case they wanted to try a move. At the final kilometers, Pedrero was asked by the team to drop back and help Nairo out in the bunch. My task was remaining at the front and wait for my brother, but at the latter part of the stage there was no radio communication available, and I didn’t know what to do. I was so close to dropping back myself to wait for Nairo, but I didn’t get a response and continued following the wheel of Sevilla and Henao, who helped me approach Contreras. At the end, I sprinted with everything I had to win the stage, because we had to take something out of the day. My daughter is turning one year old tomorrow, so there’s no better way to celebrate than offering her this present!”
Nairo Quintana: “The team worked really great, we kept the race under control as we wanted to, but at the end, we got a bit too optimistic because of the time references we were given. There was an issue with time bonuses, too, because we thought that the breakaway wouldn’t be reached down and they would take those seconds. It’s sad for us to see Egan claiming those decisive seconds, but at the end, it was also Dayer who won the stage, and that’s really great for us. I’m happier for him than if it were myself who had won the stage. The most important conclusion we draw from this race is that I’ve shown I’m in good condition and our preparations continue to be on the right path. This race leaves us with a great taste and pride of what Colombia represents. They went in hundreds of thousands to the roads to watch us, it was beautiful to see. It’s very difficult to find roads so crowded as we saw here this week, and that’s something we will hold dear about this Colombia Oro y Paz.”