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"The Giro is owed ​​partly to Gorka and he knows it. He was a fundamental piece for me, not only in that race but also in the Tour this year."

Photo: Sirotti






18.11.2015 @ 07:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The win at the 2014 Giro d’Italia is the highlight of Nairo Quintana’s grand tour career and is the bridge between his two second places at the Tour de France. The Colombian was dressed in pink when he arrived in Trieste as a 24-year-old super talent. On the podium, he was flanked by his savior, Gorka Izagirre.


Quintana made the coup in the 2014 Giro with his victory in Val Martello, five days before the end and in adverse weather conditions. However, he had been the verge of withdrawal earlier in the stage. "It was very cold, it was snowing and we were all shivering. Quintana went through very difficult times down the Gavia,” Izagirre told BiciCiclismo back then. "I had to literally put the food into his mouth.”


The Colombian recovered and escaped on the descent from the Stevlio when many riders thought that the race was neutralized. Later he dropped Ryder Hesjedal and Pierre Rolland to win the stage. Race leader Rigobero Uran was ninth and lost more than four minutes. Quintana never lost the maglia rosa again. He confirmed his victory with the stage win in the Monte Grappa time trial where he beat Fabio Aru by 17 seconds, survived the Zoncolan and celebrated the victory in Trieste.


A year and half later, Quintana praises Izaguirre. "The Giro is owed ​​partly to Gorka and he knows it. He was a fundamental piece for me, not only in that race but also in the Tour this year,” he told BiciCiclismo at the Movistar team camp in Pamplona. "It was a difficult time. He knew how to do well. I was able to get through the difficulties, and I remained in the race. Look at how things can change. I went from almost withdrawing to winning the stage,” he recalls.


"Yes, it was one of the days when I have suffered most on the bike. Fortunately we suffer so much that you forget about it," he jokes. "It’s not the worst day I've had. There's the Mont-Ventoux stage in the 2013 Tour where I fainted just after the finish line and the last Vuelta where I was suffering from a stomach virus.”


Izagirre was close to leaving Movistar but in the end he renewed for two years. Quintana welcomes his decision. "He has extended his contract and fortunately will still be with me. I think we convinced him well (laughs). He is a rider that I carry in my heart because he is like my family. He has helped me in many races and is a great domestique," he says.



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