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Tour de la Provence: Nairo Quintana storms to summit victory, swoops on final GC

Quintana unleashes two huge mountaintop surges to take stage win and GC victory, Filippo Ganna resilient but distanced on grinding ascent.

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Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) made two huge moves to win the decisive summit finish of Tour de la Provence and grab GC victory on the final day of racing.

Quintana scored overall victory in Provence for the second time in his career with a crushing climbing performance. The 32-year-old blasted away from the lead group in the middle of the grinding climb to the line before dropping Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) at around four kilometers to go.

Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) led the chasers home for second on the stage as young American star Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) grabbed third.

Overnight GC-leader Filippo Ganna hauled his burly frame to the top of the 13.4km, 6.7 percent summit just 1:21 back Quintana, but it wasn’t enough to defend his leader’s jersey.

The Italian powerhouse had started the day with a negligible two-second classification lead over Alaphilippe and slid down to seventh overall as Alaphilippe and Skjelmose took the bottom steps of the final podium.

Just two riders out of the early five-man break survived through to the decisive summit finish. Nicolas Debeaumarché (St Michel-Auber93) and Romain Combaud (DSM) held out to the base of the Montagne de Lure as the peloton heated up close behind.

TotalEnergies caused the initial damage in the peloton, hammering on the front in the approach to the climb to split down the bunch for GC hopeful Pierre Latour.

The pace gradually cranked through the lower slopes of the mountain before Arkéa-Samsic unleashed Quintana just as they caught final escapee Combaud.

Alaphilippe dived straight onto Quintana’s wheel as the Colombian motored away from the leaders, but Quintana was irresistible. Ivan Sosa (Movistar) and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo) were winching their way across to the lead pair when Quintana unleashed a second huge acceleration that left Alaphilippe for dust.

Sosa took up the chase some 30 seconds behind his countryman while Alaphilippe was scooped up by a chase group including Jorgenson, Skjelmose and young sensation Ilan van Wilder (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

Quintana rampaged his way to victory to secure GC for the second time after also winning in 2020.

Behind him, the chasers hoovered up the fast-fading Sosa just 50 meters from the line. Skjelmose won the sprint for second as Jorgenson marked his wheel for third.

Alaphilippe crossed the line seventh to hang on to second overall.

Tour de la Provence stage 3:

  1. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic): 4:23:06
  2. Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo): +0:37
  3. Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar): S.T.

Tour de la Provence final GC:

  1. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic):12:09:11
  2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): +0:27
  3. Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo): +0:34