Nairo Quintana gives it his all through Foza climb and down to Asiago, finishes 5th to keep his Maglia Rosa: 38″ over Nibali (TBM), 43″ to Pinot (FDJ), 53″ against Dumoulin (SUN) before 29km ITT to Milan decides GC outcome in Giro d’Italia.

The 2017 Giro d’Italia will come closer than ever to the decisive, 29.3km ITT from Monza to Milan on Sunday. Nairo Quintana and the whole Movistar Team fought as hard as they’ve done over the three weeks of racing to keep improving their position at the Italian grand-tour’s final mountain stage -190km from Pordenone to Asiago, including the grueling climbs of Grappa (Cat-1) and Foza (Cat-1)- and took a few seconds on Tom Dumoulin (SUN), their strongest rival for a time trial where the ‘Cóndor’ will leave everything on the road to try to win the race against most odds.

Well covered by his seven team-mates until the foot of the first climb, the Boyacá-born cyclist found sensational support from Víctor de la Parte and Andrey Amador through most of the day’s uphill sections. The two kept the pace lively through many parts of the Grappa; kept him away from trouble at the subsequent descent; and picked up the pace from the foot of Foza to even cover an initial acceleration from Nibali (TBM), which only the GC contenders could eventually match. The ‘Shark’ and Nairo went ahead together with 7km from the top of the ascent, seeking for a previous move from Pozzovivo (ALM) and Zakarin (KAT), and later joined by Pinot (FDJ), the trio tried to break the pace of Dumoulin, who always remained at a few seconds’ distance.

All down to final TT in Italy

Following a fast few kilometers immediately after the summit, which saw the pursuit trio making their margin grow up to 30″ on Dumoulin, Jungels (QST), Mollema (TFS) and Yates (ORS), the junction between the first two groups broke cooperation inside the front and boosted the stragglers’ chances. In the end, only 15″ separated the five-man lead, with Pinot victorious and Nairo in 5th, and the second group. The gaps for the TT thus remain really short: 39″ for Quintana over Nibali; 43″ on Pinot; 53″ to Dumoulin; 1’15” against Zakarin; and 1’30” over Pozzovivo. A one-on-one fight that will decide the fate of all contenders after three weeks of exhausting efforts.