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Giro d'Italia

Vanquished rivals decline to question Quintana’s Giro victory

Rigoberto Urán said he thought Quintana would have won the 2014 Giro regardless of the infamous Stelvio stage

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TRIESTE, Italy (VN) — If Rigoberto Urán was upset with the way he lost this Giro d’Italia to Nairo Quintana, he didn’t show it to reporters Sunday afternoon in Trieste.

The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider finished second in the 2014 Giro but will perhaps be remembered for how he had the pink jersey ripped from his shoulders, via a downhill attack by Movistar’s Quintana on the Stelvio. Organizers confused teams, attempting to neutralize the descent, though some riders pushed on, citing confusion and hectic conditions in the blizzard.

When the snow settled, Urán had lost the jersey to Quintana and conceded more than four minutes on the day, minutes he’d never come close to taking back. His grand-tour dreams sailed away on Quintana’s climbing legs, which proved daunting for everyone in the race.

On Sunday, Uran never wavered, sticking to a hard line and batting away questions about the ultimate outcome. Asked about his feelings as Quintana was up the road on the now-infamous Gavia-Stelvio stage, he was to the point.

“It was a special day, you might say. Perhaps lacking a bit of information,” he said via a translation.

Quintana didn’t win the Giro by a slim margin, or a margin taken solely on the Stelvio descent. Had the group gone up the Val Martello ascent together it’s unlikely he would have taken minutes from Uran, and the hydraulics of the race may have changed with a tighter time gap on GC.

But Quintana was dominant in the time trial, putting 1 minute and 26 seconds into Urán, roughly the same amount of time he took on the Stelvio descent. He rode flawlessly up the Zoncolan with Urán and ended up winning the overall by 2 minutes and 58 seconds.

Urán and third-placed Fabio Aru (Astana) were both asked if Quintana deserved this grand-tour win, his first. Both said he did, however briefly.

“Yes, I do think he does deserve it. He showed to be a better climber. A very strong climber. So I congratulate him on this win,” Aru said.

Uran offered a bit less. “The same thing goes for me. I do think the same,” he said. “Whoever was going to win was going to win with or without those climbs. I thought it was going to end up the way it did. Nothing more to say,” he later added.

Quintana, though, seemed to take the questions over his seizing of the maglia rosa to heart.

“This is what the people wanted to see, everything you journalists asked me, I have taken it seriously,” he said after he won the time trial up Cima Grappa.

After three weeks of the Giro d’Italia, most of the peloton’s questions have been answered. Those still unknown will remain so.

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