After a hectic day on Ventoux and a premature attack, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) took some solace in the fact that he hadn't lost too much time. With the crucial time trial just ahead, Quintana is still within a minute of Tour de France overall leader Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Much had been made of the potential showdown between Froome and Quintana on the slopes of Mont Ventoux. Although a shorter ascent, it was set to be a rematch of their battle in 2013. Movistar tried to draw out Froome by sending Quintana's teammate Alejandro Valverde up the road and when that didn't work the Colombian had a go himself.
Quintana went twice, but both moves were almost immediately shut down. He then had to follow a stinging attack from Froome, but when the race leader went again, Quintana had no answer. Despite losing time to Froome in both the previous stages, Quintana said he is pretty happy with how things have panned out.
"For me, and considering how things fared for me against Froome some days ago, it's fine to be where I stand at the moment. I hope I can defend myself well in the TT," said Quintana.
"To me and in hindsight, it seemed premature to attack from where I did: there were gusty headwinds, I got caught really soon and wasted some energy which I missed at the end. It was a very demanding day: plenty of wind all stage, lots of horsepower - we came into the final climb with little energy."
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There was much confusion at the finish as to where exactly Quintana and his rivals were in the overall standings after a crash caused by fans preventing a race vehicle from passing took out a group of attackers, which included Froome. Initial results had Quintana slipping off the podium but after lengthy discussions, the results were revised. Quintana was given the same time as Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), who had been in the same group as Quintana when the incident happened, therefore, moving him into third place overall.
Quintana did not witness the incident but laid blame on the organisers for the crash. "It was a difficult stage with a lot of wind all day and in the final, our rivals had a mishap because of a moto and the public wouldn't let them past," Quintana said, perched on the steps of his Movistar bus.
"What we saw today was disastrous. We came ahead of Froome and Porte after that problem they suffered and apparently we ended up losing not much time against them, arguably the most important rivals. When I reached the pile-up, Mollema, Porte and Froome were already on the ground. I think it was the organisation to blame, with all the motors and the spectators - these are race circumstances, but surely we should improve that."