Giro d'Italia: Quintana conquers Blockhaus

If the first summit finish of the Giro d'Italia, on Mount Etna on Tuesday, was an uneventful and anticlimactic affair, the second one on Blockhaus on stage 9 was the polar opposite. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) stamped his authority on the race with a commanding victory that put him into the maglia rosa on a day that saw huge time gaps between the overall favourites, some of which were due to a crash caused by a motorbike before the climb had even begun.

Team Sky's race was left in tatters as Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa both hit the deck, along with Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), when Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman collided with the police moto that was parked at the side of the road.

Quintana’s Movistar team were unaffected and they led onto the brutal 13.5km first-category ascent, setting a fierce pace to tee up the Colombian, who made the first of many attacks with 6.6km to go and was alone with a 24-second lead by the finish line.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who had followed Quintana's opening move with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), finished in second place with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) for company. 2016 champion Nibali, who had responded so calmly to Quintana's first few digs, got into difficulty when the Colombian made his race-winning move on the 14 per cent gradients inside the final 5km, and he eventually faded to fifth, losing a minute.

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), who rode most of the climb with Dumoulin before losing contact in the final 2km, finished fourth at 41 seconds. Behind him riders came in one-by-one on a day when the Giro truly exploded into life.

Quintana inherits the maglia rosa from Bob Jungels, who struggled as soon as the gradients ramped up in the final 10km of the 13.5km final climb. The Quick-Step rider eventually lost 3:30, joining a long list of hopefuls who were dealt severe blows – Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) both lost over two minutes, while BMC's Tejay van Garderen lost 3:46.

The damage was worse for Thomas, Landa, and Yates, though through no fault of their own. Landa remounted quicker than Thomas, who revealed he had to pop his shoulder back into its socket, but was clearly physically hampered and ended up losing nearly 27 minutes. Thomas fought bravely and had teammates to pace him up the climb, but he lost 5 minutes and with it any realistic shot at the podium. Yates was up and away much quicker than the others but he struggled alone for most of the climb and lost 4:39.

Quintana, who picked up 10 bonus seconds for the stage win, now leads the general classification by 28 seconds over Pinot, with Dumoulin at 30 seconds. Mollema (51 seconds) and Nibali (1:10) follow, with Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale) the only other rider within two minutes of Quintana.

Blockhaus

The carnage began before the foot of the climb had even been reached. The pace was high on the approach as the GC teams looked to secure a strong position in the peloton, but a police motorbike was parked by the side of the road – not on the grass verge but on the tarmac itself. Wilco Kelderman couldn't avoid shouldering into it and soon more than 10 riders were on the deck, including Thomas and Landa, whose Sky team had set up shop on the left hand side of the road.

Landa was up and away quickly - as was Yates - but it soon became clear he was in a bad way, and the Sky team dropped back to crowd around Thomas, who began a long fight to limit his losses.

Movistar, who had worked on the front of the bunch for the previous 50km, were in no mood to be distracted from their plans and they led onto the climb in numbers, setting a strong pace that saw the peloton quickly thin out. The early slopes of the 13.5km Blockhaus climb were fairly manageable but they ramped to nearly 10 per cent – and then barely let up – with around 10km to go. It was there that the race leader Jungels began to struggle, and he soon lost the wheel.

The selection process was dramatic as suddenly only 11 riders were left out front. Quintana was there with his teammates Winner Anacona and Andrey Amador leading the way, while Kruijswijk, Pinot, Mollema, Pozzovivo, Dumoulin, Formolo, and Zakarin all sat in the wheels. Van Garderen was a victim of the harsher gradients and dropped back to join forces with Jungels, though the gap would only go one way. Zakarin and Formolo were the next riders to lose contact.

With 6.6km to go Quintana said 'muchas gracias' to his teammates and put in the first attack of the climb. Nibali, amazingly with his arms folded over his bars as if he were riding solo on the flat, closed the gap with assuredness, and Pinot was also alive to it. They looked like the strongest three and they rode away.

Pinot put in a small dig himself but it was Quintana who repeatedly accelerated as the trio gained 20 seconds. Nibali, seated all the time, shut the Colombian down each time with apparent ease but, after a brief respite under the 5km to go banner, the gradients were about to hit 14 per cent. And it's there that the elastic snapped as Quintana surged once more.

This time Nibali couldn't claw his way back, and it soon emerged he was struggling himself, at which point Pinot put in an attack of his own and dropped the 2016 champion. Nibali was soon caught by Dumoulin and Mollema, who had emerged as the strongest of the chasers, and it wasn't long before Nibali lost contact with them, too. Dumoulin then rode up to Pinot, making the bridge as Mollema was losing the wheel inside the final 2km.

Up the road Quintana looked fresh as he sprang out of the saddle again under the flamme rouge. He had a lead of 30 seconds and the stage win was pretty much in the bag. He rounded one final tricky corner as the road ducked downhill before sprinting on the rise for the line, fighting for every second, but letting out a huge smile as he crossed the line.

How it unfolded

With a short stage, only 149 kilometres, and a very nasty finish, the day's breakaway would be a futile affair. But almost immediately a group got away nonetheless: Alexey Tstatevich (Gazprom-RusVelo), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Matteo Busato (Wilier-Triestina) and Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors) had trouble establishing a gap but soon got away successfully.

Three riders tried to join them: Pierre Rolland (Cannondale), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), and Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) dangled in between, as the group took off and the peloton turned things down a notch.

The trio was unable to make much headway, and so Cannondale turned on the turbo and started giving chase. The gap to the first group had grown to 4 minutes, and the American team brought it down a minute, as the three in the middle came nearer to the break group.

Finally, the three made contact with the lead group, to the latter's displeasure. Rolland was too good a climber and could easily destroy the chances of the others in the group. However, at 10:33 down, he was too far back to be a worry for the GC candidates. With 89km to go, the gap was 2:51.

Cannondale had done their job and retired from the lead work, with Movistar taking over the work. The long hard chase may have cost Rolland though, as he appeared to struggle at bit at the back of the break group.

The gap was coming steadily down, and was at about 2.30 at the halfway mark, and continued to fall. The two-minute marker came with 68km left. It went back up again, though, with Movistar still at the head of the field.

The cat-and-mouse continued, with the gap growing and shrinking. Fraile took the second intermediate sprint, at the top of a hill in Chieti and the peloton leisurely following at 2:38. From there, though, the speed picked up, the peloton lined out and the gap came down under the two-minute mark. It hit the one minute mark with 34 km left, Movistar still doing the work.

Bahrain Merida and Sky moved up to the front, and the lead group started up the climb with just over 30 seconds. That lead group soon started falling apart, as Marczynski, Tratnik and Rolland were the first to take off, and the rest were caught with about 24 km to go.

The new leading trio held onto a 10 to 13-second gap, but Rolland was soon out of the group as the field approached. Movistar caught them with 22 km left and turned on the speed yet again. Numerous riders started falling off the back but then the motorbike suddenly appeared, sending the Giro into chaos once more. 

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team3:44:51
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ0:00:24
3Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team SunwebRow 2 - Cell 2
4Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:00:41
5Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:00
6Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:18
7Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:02:02
8Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:14
9Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ0:02:28
10Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:02:35
11Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:02:43
12Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 11 - Cell 2
13Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:03:00
14Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:03:28
15Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors0:03:30
16Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:03:46
17Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 17 - Cell 2
19José Mendes (Por) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:03
20Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team0:04:17
21Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb0:04:28
22Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data0:04:38
23Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott0:04:39
24Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 23 - Cell 2
25Cristian Rodriguez (Spa) Wilier TriestinaRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 25 - Cell 2
27Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 26 - Cell 2
28Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates0:05:06
29Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:05:08
30Igor Anton (Spa) Dimension DataRow 29 - Cell 2
31Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:06:08
33Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac0:06:50
34Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 33 - Cell 2
35Michal Schlegel (Cze) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 34 - Cell 2
36Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 35 - Cell 2
37François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:01
38Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:07:20
39Alexander Foliforov (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 38 - Cell 2
40Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:07:58
41Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac0:08:16
42Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:49
43Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 42 - Cell 2
44Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ0:09:14
45Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky0:09:24
46Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:09:32
47Felix Großschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 46 - Cell 2
48Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:10:58
49Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo0:11:10
50Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 49 - Cell 2
51Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:12:01
52Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:13:15
53Ruben Plaza (Spa) Orica-Scott0:13:18
54Carlos Verona (Spa) Orica-ScottRow 53 - Cell 2
55Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Bahrain-Merida0:14:32
56Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-AlpecinRow 55 - Cell 2
57Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 56 - Cell 2
58Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 57 - Cell 2
59Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 58 - Cell 2
60Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJRow 59 - Cell 2
61Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 60 - Cell 2
62Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:15:07
63Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Chad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 63 - Cell 2
65Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 64 - Cell 2
66Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 65 - Cell 2
67Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJRow 66 - Cell 2
68Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:15:27
69Jose Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team0:15:40
70Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team0:16:32
71Sebastian Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 70 - Cell 2
72Clement Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 71 - Cell 2
73Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky0:17:17
74Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Georg Preidler (Aut) Team SunwebRow 74 - Cell 2
76Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 75 - Cell 2
77Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto SoudalRow 76 - Cell 2
78Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 77 - Cell 2
79Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:18:06
80Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:18:40
81Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 80 - Cell 2
82Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo0:19:16
83Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:20:10
84Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha-AlpecinRow 85 - Cell 2
87Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Dimension DataRow 86 - Cell 2
88Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJRow 87 - Cell 2
89Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 88 - Cell 2
90Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 89 - Cell 2
91Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:21:03
92Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension DataRow 92 - Cell 2
94Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 93 - Cell 2
95Julen Amezqueta (Spa) Wilier TriestinaRow 94 - Cell 2
96Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 95 - Cell 2
97Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-DrapacRow 96 - Cell 2
98Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 97 - Cell 2
99Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 98 - Cell 2
100Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:21:27
101Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team0:21:59
102Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:22:06
103Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:22:09
104Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 103 - Cell 2
105Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 104 - Cell 2
106Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ0:22:16
107Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJRow 106 - Cell 2
108Johann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data0:22:22
109Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Wilier TriestinaRow 108 - Cell 2
110Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:22:24
111Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina0:23:31
112Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky0:23:51
113Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team0:24:55
114Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 114 - Cell 2
116Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension DataRow 115 - Cell 2
117Ángel Vicioso (Spa) Katusha-AlpecinRow 116 - Cell 2
118Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 118 - Cell 2
120Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:25:32
121Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Wilier Triestina0:26:37
122Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 122 - Cell 2
124Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step FloorsRow 123 - Cell 2
125Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-DrapacRow 124 - Cell 2
126Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Team SunwebRow 125 - Cell 2
127Michal Golas (Pol) Team SkyRow 126 - Cell 2
128Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 127 - Cell 2
129Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 128 - Cell 2
130Eugert Zhupa (Alb) Wilier TriestinaRow 129 - Cell 2
131Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 130 - Cell 2
132Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 131 - Cell 2
133Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto SoudalRow 132 - Cell 2
134Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension DataRow 133 - Cell 2
135Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 134 - Cell 2
136Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 135 - Cell 2
137Pavel Brutt (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 136 - Cell 2
138Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 137 - Cell 2
139Twan Castelijns (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 138 - Cell 2
140Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 139 - Cell 2
141Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 140 - Cell 2
142Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 141 - Cell 2
143Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team SunwebRow 142 - Cell 2
144José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 143 - Cell 2
145Matej Mohoric (Slo) UAE Team EmiratesRow 144 - Cell 2
146Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 145 - Cell 2
147Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-ScottRow 146 - Cell 2
148Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 147 - Cell 2
149Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 148 - Cell 2
150Jan Bárta (Cze) Bora-HansgroheRow 149 - Cell 2
151Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 150 - Cell 2
152Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension DataRow 151 - Cell 2
153Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 152 - Cell 2
154Simon Geschke (Ger) Team SunwebRow 153 - Cell 2
155Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 154 - Cell 2
156Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 155 - Cell 2
157Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 156 - Cell 2
158Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-DrapacRow 157 - Cell 2
159Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 158 - Cell 2
160Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 159 - Cell 2
161Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 160 - Cell 2
162Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step FloorsRow 161 - Cell 2
163Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 162 - Cell 2
164Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 163 - Cell 2
165Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky0:26:56
166Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:27:08
167Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:27:19
168André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:27:50
169Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 168 - Cell 2
170Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-ScottRow 169 - Cell 2
171Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-HansgroheRow 170 - Cell 2
172Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-Scott0:27:56
173Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 172 - Cell 2
174Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Gazprom – RusveloRow 173 - Cell 2
175William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ0:27:59
176Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 175 - Cell 2
177Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:29:49
178Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 177 - Cell 2
179Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:31:08
180Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 179 - Cell 2
181Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 180 - Cell 2
182Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 181 - Cell 2
183Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team SunwebRow 182 - Cell 2
184Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:31:23
185Ivan Savitskiy (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:31:32
186Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:31:41
187Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors0:31:52
188Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina0:34:05
189Giuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Wilier TriestinaRow 188 - Cell 2
190Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:35:18
DNFWilco Kelderman (Ned) Team SunwebRow 190 - Cell 2
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team15pts
2Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb9Row 2 - Cell 3
4Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team8Row 3 - Cell 3
5Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data8Row 4 - Cell 3
6Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo8Row 5 - Cell 3
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo7Row 6 - Cell 3
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida6Row 7 - Cell 3
9Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale5Row 8 - Cell 3
10Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team4Row 9 - Cell 3
11Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin3Row 10 - Cell 3
12Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ2Row 11 - Cell 3
13Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac1Row 12 - Cell 3
14Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina1