Result: COLOMBIAN NAIRO QUINTANA escaped to victory in the 20th stage of the Tour de France as he raced away at the end of the final climb to move up to second in General Classification.
British race leader Chris Froome virtually secured the yellow jersey by coming through (almost) without incident, though he did aim a punch at an overzealous fan earlier in the day.
How it happened: The ride from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz was a roller-coaster of a stage with a gruelling 8.5% climb over the final 11 kilometres.
The stage started with Pierre Rolland, who was just one point behind Froome in the race for the Polka Dot jersey, instigating an early break that held a 90 second lead after just 13 kilometres of the day’s stage. However, Quintana was not out of the race for the mountain classification either so his Movistar team-mates ensured the breakaways never got too far in front.
Despite a spirited solo effort from Jens Voigt, he was caught by the yellow jersey group containing Froome, Quintana, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador with a little over 8 kilotmetres to go. An attack from Froome saw to Contador’s challenge but he couldn’t shake Rodriquez and Quintana and with about a kilometre to go, Quintana raced ahead of the pair to claim his first ever stage win.
The 23-year-old Colombian finished 18 seconds ahead of Rodriguez who moved into third place overall, more than a minute ahead Spain’s Alberto Contador who came home two minutes and 28 seconds behind the stage winner.
The big winner: Nairo Quintana. The Colombian not only picked up the White Jersey for being the best young rider, but his final burst over the summit of Mont Semnoz was enough to claim the King of the Mountains title too.
The big loser: Alberto Contador. There won’t be too many cycling fans disappointed that the Spaniard will finish this year’s Tour off the podium.
Who is wearing what jersey?
- Yellow (Overall): Chris Froome
- Green (Points): Peter Sagan
- Polka-Dot (Mountains): Nairo Quintana
- White (Young Rider): Nairo Quintana
What about the Irish? Nico Roche finished a credible 25th on the day’s stage which sees him climb two places to 41st. Dan Martin endured another tough day in the saddle and, finishing nearly 19 minutes behind Quintana saw the Garmin rider slip one place to 33rd overall.
What happens tomorrow then? Sunday’s procession into Paris will see Froome crowned as just the second ever British winner of the Tour.