Colombia had failed to win their stage in their preferred terrain in the mountains but they showed their battling attitude all the way to the end of the Giro d'Italia. With sprinter Leonardo Duque needing a hard race, they try to get the maximum out of the small climb on the finishing circuit in Trieste on the final day of the race.
They were in Trieste, Italy, but the Colombian Tricolor was by far the most popular flag. Colombia and Colombians celebrated a Giro d’Italia totally dominated by their representatives, and whose final podium speaks for itself: Nairo Quintana (Movistar), the first Colombian winner of the Giro in history, and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma), overall second, were the guests of honor of the South-American party in Piazza Unità d’Italia, but the deserved cheers and applauses were also credited to Team Colombia, one of the best and most praised Teams of the 97th edition.
The Escarabajos, directed by Valerio Tebaldi and Oscar Pellicioli from the team cars, rode their Giro with huge courage and aggresion, consistently showing up until the final kilometre of the final stage, Gemona del Friuli-Trieste (173 km). Indeed, Leonardo Duque launched himself in the final sprint, taking a strong sixth place in the mass dash won by Slovenian Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano).
“The Team did an excellent job to make the best of the short climb on the final circuit as we tried to accelerate lap after lap, also with Quintero’s move in the third-to-last lap and a strong push by Pantano in the penultimate one, and I could take a good position into the final lap," he said. "I was fifth atop the climb in the final lap, but things messed up again with a few turns to go, and I had to fight to maintain my position. Anyway, it was a nice way to wrap up a very good Giro by the Team as a whole.”
Sports Director Valerio Tebaldi also wished to praise his riders, who provided a strong performance even in the very last day:
“We knew the final circuit, and we were aware that we could try and favour Leonardo by pushing hard on it. All of our riders spent a lot of energy in this Giro, but all of them were eager to give their heart out even in the final stage, and I am very proud of that.”
Team Colombia rounded out its Giro d’Italia with 9 top-10 placements, including two second places by Fabio Duarte(Montecampione and Panarotta) and a third place by Jarlinson Pantano in Oropa, and showing an always aggressive racing style, giving back to the public the great show of an ever-sparkling Colombian team, always on the attack, like in the best Escarabajos’ tradition.
The Giro is now over, but there is still a lot left in Team Colombia’s season: next stop will be Tour of Luxembourg, starting next Wednedsay June 4th.
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