Nairo Alexander Quintana (Movistar) used the final time trial to win the 53rd Tour of the Basque Country on Saturday.
Quintana finished second in the 24km race against the clock, 17 seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). It was more than good enough for the Colombian to take the overall ahead of Richie Porte (Sky), who could manage only fourth place on the day, 40 seconds behind Martin.
Sergio Luis Henao (Sky), who started the day in the overall lead, nearly slid off the podium entirely in the finale. He finished seventh, 57 seconds down, and slipped to third overall — just a single second ahead of Simon Spilak (Katusha).
“The truth is I felt very good all week,” said Quintana. “I was fighting for a win since Paris-Nice. Today I felt good and took advantage. We raced the time trial with good head and strong legs.”
Quintana said he hoped at some point “to challenge for a grand tour.” In the meantime, he praised his team for their help in the here and now.
“My team really supported me all week and I want to thank of them. This is a win for the entire team,” he said. “It was a good course today for me with the climbing of the course. The flat parts were so short it didn’t favor the time trial specialists, so I was able to take advantage.”
As for Martin, who had himself hoped to challenge for the yellow jersey, he said that a hard race, bad weather and crashes made it a less-than-perfect week for him.
And while he pronounced himself “satisfied” after winning the time trial, he added a few criticisms: “It was a super-hard time trial and some dangerous corners. I don’t prefer this time trial. I hope for the future there will be a better time trial in the Basque Country.”
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from Basque Country.