Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru shared the final Giro d'Italia podium in Trieste with Nairo Quintana and sportingly admitted that the Movistar rider would have won the race without the time gained the descent of the Stelvio.
The two had their own reasons to celebrate rather repeat the polemics of the stage in the snow. Aru's third place overall has crowned him as Italy's next great climber and Giro d'Italia rider.
Uran's second place confirmed his consistency after finishing second behind Vincenzo Nibali in 2013. He is perhaps Colombia's nearly man and has been quickly surpassed by Quintana, but he seems happy to be the bridesmaid in Grand Tours.
"Quintana deserved to win the Giro. He was very strong on the climbs and we can only congratulate him," Aru said.
"I agree. He deserved to win," Uran said. "I've always said that whoever wins deserved to win, with or without the climbs. The same thing would have happened, there's nothing more to say about it."
While Quintana struggled to provide one last urine sample in anti-doping control, Uran and especially Aru took centre stage at the post-race press conference.
Uran faced a single question about the Stelvio but was eloquent with his answer.
"It was a special day for sure. We were just lacking a bit of information," he said reminding everyone about the confusion caused by race radio.
The new hero of the Italian tifosi
Aru is the new hero of the Italian tifosi after his attack in the climbs, his stage victory at Montecampione and his huge effort to finish a close second behind Quintana in the Cima Grappa time trial.
The Italian media has already suggested he is a possible rival for teammate and fellow Italian Vincenzo Nibali. Aru was quick to play down any rival, at least for now.
"We're teammates, we get on really well and I've learned a lot from him and I'm sure I'll learn more from in the future," Aru said.
"I haven't got a lot of experience and just tried to do as well as possible. I'm satisfied with my Giro."
"I didn't even really believe in what I could do in this Giro, it was already a surprise to be up there fighting with the best. I gave my best but I kept my feet on the ground because I didn’t know my limits."
Lots of Aru's family, friends and supporters traveled from Sardinia to cheer him on, with the Sardinian flag showing the heads of four Moors often seen along the road side and waved at Aru.
Aru seemed level headed enough to handle the expectation and adulation.
"There will be a lot more expectation on my shoulders, but I hope that will give me the pride and determination to do as well as possible," he said.
"I developed gradually as an Under 23 rider and only won my first race in my third season. That has given me the determination to train hard and live a life of sacrifices. You need to be hungry in cycling. I've got a lot to learn and still have to prove virtually everything."
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