Giro d'Italia Stage 20: Uran Finishes Top 20 as OPQS Shows Team Spirit
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team showed its team spirit at the 167km Giro d'Italia Stage 20 on Saturday. Wout Poels, and eventually Pieter Serry who was formely in the breakaway, escorted Rigoberto Uran on the brutal Monte Zoncolan (GPM 1) summit finish. The effort of OPQS was impressive, as the Maglia Rosa group was already down to an elite selection of less than 10 riders with 5km left to go in the stage.
By the time there was 3.7km to go in the stage, it was only Poels, Uran, and race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Pieter Serry joined the group while Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) headed toward a solo victory up the road with 1.9km to go. The two riders then guided Uran, and eventually Uran and Quintana crossed the line together to confirm their places in the general classification. Quintana finished 17th, and Uran 18th. Quintana will wear the Maglia Rosa into Trieste on Sunday for the final stage, while Uran further strengthened his grip on the second step of the podium.
Poels, who had pain written on his face as he pulled Uran up the final climb, finished 20th. Serry, who was in an original breakaway of 20 and still helped Uran in the final kilometers, finished 27th.
OPQS looks next to the flat, 172km Stage 21 of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday.
"Today the team out together another great performance," Uran said. "The guys were there really fighting for me. We sent Serry in the front to have somebody there for me on the last climb. But as I said yesterday, that climb is too steep to make a big difference. So we went, and Wout did a good tempo with me. We caught Serry and he did a great job for more than a kilometer. I have to say it was beautiful to ride on this climb in the middle of such a big crowd. I am really happy with this 2nd place. I think OPQS as a team had a great Giro, and I'm satisfied with my spot on the podium. I think we took all the chances we could on the road and did what we had to do, so I am happy. I am also happy for the management, staff, and sponsors of this team. This is historic. It's the first Grand Tour podium in the history of the team. I hope it is just the first of many podiums. We will see, what can happen and we will fight for it. But tonight, it is time to celebrate what we did at this Giro with the team and then we will enjoy the final stage tomorrow."
"Heavy day, and steep, but the legs were good," Poels said. "I was there with Uran. I don't know what happened with the Movistar rider who was with us, but at one point he dropped and it was just Uran, Quintana, and me, and I was just pulling. It was nice, to be present with the two big guys. Two Colombians and a Dutch guy. Then we picked up Serry and he also did well. We did what we could on the second to last day. It was good for the team to have three riders in the front with the pink jersey like that. We worked hard for it. Now we have Rigo in 2nd, so that was the goal. To get on the podium. We made it, so I think we can be satisfied. As for me, I think I performed well too. The day of the Gavia and Stelvio , there was too much snow. I was really cold. I was going down on the Gavia, and after 2 kilometers with the snow in my face and in the glasses, I couldn't see anything. I was totally frozen. So it was bad luck otherwise I could have possibly also made the top 10 even with the role of a helper for Uran. But, that's cycling. My goal was to help Uran for this three week Giro and I think I did a good job. I'm looking forward to enjoying this night with my teammates knowing all the hard work we put into this race."
"It was a very fast stage today at the start," Serry said. "There was a little bit of crosswind and the peloton broke up. We were gone with 19 or 20 riders, but not more than 4 minutes of a gap. Cannondale and Columbia was pulling the whole time. One of the Colombians jumped on the 2nd climb. Then in the bunch it was not so hard. We did a good tempo but not so hard for me. We went with 20 riders to the last climb, Monte Zoncolan. Then I waited for Rigo. In the last 3 kilometers I pulled for a kilometer and a half for him. And, I was there in the front with the GC guys. I'm part of the history of OPQS and the Giro. I guided the first Grand Tour podium rider in the history of the team to the finish line. I think it's an honor for the whole team. I'm very happy. It's a good experience and also I am happy to be a part of OPQS, especially to be selected for the Giro. It's an honor for everyone."