Quintana snatches Giro lead from Dumoulin

Nairo Quintana won back the pink jersey from Tom Dumoulin, beating the Dutch rider by more than a minute in the Dolomites to ensure they carried their rivalry into the final two stages of the Giro d'Italia.

Spain's Landa banished the nightmares from being beaten into second place in two of the past three stages by soloing to an emotional victory on the last major summit finish of the race.

Quintana, the 2014 champion who rides for Movistar, finished almost eight and a half minutes behind Team Sky rider Mikel Landa after the Spaniard soloed over the finish in triumph following a 191km ride from San Candido to the summit finish at Piancavallo.

Dumoulin, meanwhile, stayed out of trouble to tighten his grip on the leader's pink jersey.

Dumoulin narrowly avoided losing his lead on the "Queen" mountain stage to Bormio on Tuesday, when an unscheduled toilet stop saw Quintana slash his deficit to just 31 seconds.

Once the climb began it was Costa and Landa who hit out at the front of the race, while the peloton rode tempo behind the domestiques of Movistar, Bahrain-Merida and Team Sunweb. "I think we've got one of the strongest teams and this will play a role, but I'm sure that there will be a lot of fight tomorrow".

"It's pretty complicated. We have to adapt the strategy day-by-day", Quintana said.

Just like that, Dumoulin's Giro went from being a near-sure bet, to being one mountain too far from a breakout grand tour victory.

Having salvaged his overall lead with a measured lone pursuit on the Umbrailpass on Tuesday, Dumoulin enjoyed a rather calmer afternoon on stage 17 of the Giro, as the race made the long trek towards Canazei.

Other than the tactics of the attacks on the climbs which Dutchman Dumoulin mastered, there was little other drama - although Movistar rider Quintana nearly collided with a race motorbike during the trek up the Passo Gardena.

"So I chose to show them that I'm also awake".The 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia will finish with a time-trial in Milan on Sunday, where Dumoulin is expected to be able to fend off any challenges from the climbers.

"I expect Nibali to attack, but whoever attacks first, all the others will follow".

It caught Dumoulin cold, and he admitted: "I had bad legs from the start and I made a rookie mistake at the beginning, sitting at the back of the bunch on the downhill".

"In the final I tried to limit my losses and I did that very well".

He attacked early on in the 137 kilometres stage from Moena to Ortisei.

"Then Bahrain and Movistar split the bunch and I was in the second group and needed, with my bad legs, to go to the maximum to come back, in the middle of the stage, so that was really unnecessary".

"The team saved me a couple of times otherwise it would have been a much worse day".

  • Julie Sanders