Tour de la Provence: Nairo Quintana storms to victory at the top and rushes to the final GC

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Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) made two huge moves to claim the decisive finish at the top of the Tour de la Provence and take the GC victory on the last day of racing.

Quintana took overall victory in Provence for the second time in his career with an overwhelming climbing performance. The 32-year-old pulled away from the lead group midway through the crushing climb to the line before dropping Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) about four kilometers from the finish.

Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) led the chasers home for second place on the stage while young American star Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) took third place.

Overnight, GC leader Filippo Ganna hauled his sturdy frame to the top of the 13.4km, 6.7% peak just 1:21 behind Quintana, but that wasn’t enough to defend his shirt of leader.

The Italian powerhouse had started the day with a negligible two-second standings lead over Alaphilippe and slipped to seventh as Alaphilippe and Skjelmose took the final steps of the final podium.

Only two riders from the first five-man breakaway survived to the decisive summit finish. Nicolas Debeaumarché (St Michel-Auber93) and Romain Combaud (DSM) held on at the foot of the Montagne de Lure as the peloton warmed up close.

TotalEnergies did the initial damage in the peloton, pounding the front as the climb approached to split the peloton for GC Pierre Latour hopeful.

The pace gradually picked up on the lower slopes of the mountain before Arkéa-Samsic freed Quintana as they caught the last breakaway Combaud.

Alaphilippe dove straight into Quintana’s wheel as the Colombian spun away from the leaders, but Quintana was unstoppable. Ivan Sosa (Movistar) and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo) were making their way to the leading pair when Quintana unleashed a huge second burst that left Alaphilippe in dust.

Sosa took the chase about 30 seconds behind his compatriot while Alaphilippe was picked up by a chasing group including Jorgenson, Skjelmose and young sensation Ilan van Wilder (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

Quintana battled his way to victory to secure the GC for the second time after also winning in 2020.

Behind him, the pursuers sucked up the rapidly fading Sosa just 50 yards from the line. Skjelmose won the sprint for second place as Jorgenson scored his wheel for third place.

Alaphilippe crossed the line seventh to retain second place overall.

Tour of Provence stage 3:

  1. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic): 4:23:06
  2. Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo): +0:37
  3. Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar): ST

Final GC of the Tour de la Provence:

  1. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic): 12:09:11
  2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): +0:27
  3. Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo): +0:34

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