Nairo Quintana has won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
The Colombian sealed his first Grand Tour victory by remaining safely in the bunch on the final stage to Trieste, which ended with a bunch sprint won by Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano).
Mezgec’s stage win was the third of this Giro for the Giant-Shimano team after Marcel Kittel claimed victory on stages two and three by winning in Belfast and Dublin.
Mezgec said: “I am so happy to win here today – I was under a bit of pressure as there was so much Slovenian support here but that makes the win feel even better.
“I was really hoping to get a big result here today and have been focused on this stage all week, so it can’t get any better than this.
“The circuit was tough but the roads were big and we knew that we had to stay in front on the climb. This worked well and I was still fresh for the sprint at the end.
“Three weeks is a long time and makes your legs feel different but I have been saving the legs for today and it has all paid off.”
The greater celebrations, however, were held in the Movistar camp. Overall victory for Quintana marks the team’s biggest victory to date. Holding his baby daughter on the podium, the normally inscrutable Colombian was wreathed in smiles.
Quintana revealed that he had considered climbing off his bike on the snow-hit Passo dello Stelvo and described himself at 24 as a complete rider.
He praised the contribution made to the Giro by Colombian riders and said many more would follow.
“I’m very proud of my country,” Quintana said. “I dedicate it [overall victory] to my team, because without them there I would have been unsuccessful.”
His countryman, Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), finished second overall for the second consecutive year, while third place went to Fabio Aru (Astana), the 23-year-old Sardinian who won stage 15.
Giro d’Italia 2014: stage 21 – result
1) Luka Mezgec (SLO) – Giant-Shimano – 4.23.58
2) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – Trek – ST
3) Tyler Farrar (USA) – Garmin-Sharp
4) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) FDJ.ft
5) Roberto Ferrari (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
6) Leonardo Duque (COL) – Colombia
7) Luca Paolini (ITA) – Katusha
8) Tosh Van Der Sande (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol
9) Borut Bozic (SLO) – Astana
10) Iljo Keisse (BEL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep
1) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – 88.14.32
2) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +2.58
3) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +4.04
4) Pierre Rolland (FRA) – Europcar +5.46
5) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +6.32
6) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff-Saxo +7.04
7) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin +11.00
8) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing +11.51
9) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Sharp +13.35
10) Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) – Trek +15.49