Nairo Quintana (Movistar) overcame his rivals, an overzealous fan and gravity to win the Queen stage Sunday at the Tour Colombia 2.1 ahead of Team Sky's Ivan Sosa and overall winner Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana.
Quintana was in a select group with Sosa, Lopez and Team Sky's Egan Bernal inside the final 5km of the summit finish at Alto las Palmas when the fan, who was attempting to run alongside the riders lost his balance and fell into the group. Quintana and Sosa hit the deck briefly, while Lopez and Bernal continued on.
"It was pretty difficult and sad," Quintana said in the mixed zone after the race. "Unfortunately, it was a fall at a very important developing moment in the race and the stage. Finally, we got up and got going again. Thankfully, I was able to put in that final attack to win the stage."
Bernal dropped back to help his teammate, who started the day fourth overall at 29 seconds, and eventually brought him back to Lopez, who was third overall at 23 seconds, before losing the pace and falling out of the group.
Lopez and Sosa then engaged in an odd game of cat-and-mouse that nearly brought them to a standstill on the course as Quintana powered his way up to and then past the formerly lead duo, leaving them to fight it out for second place and the overall crown.
In the post-stage press conference, Lopez said he and Sosa were battling for the overall, but the Astana rider started the day six seconds ahead of Sosa only needed to finish with the Team Sky rider to seal overall victory.
In the end, Quintana finished eight seconds ahead of the chasing duo, which was led cross the line by Sosa. Bernal came in fourth at 16 seconds, and EF Education First's Rigoberto Uran led teammate Dani Martinez across the line 1:01 back for fifth and sixth, respectively.
"We wanted to win the race, but in the end it was complicated," Quintana said. "We finished winning a stage. It was a joy for the team, for our sponsors and for all."
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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