Following the path of 2014 Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana, Colombia’s Esteban Chaves claimed the Queen Stage of the 99th edition in Corvara (Alta Badia) while his breakaway companion Steven Kruijswijk took the Maglia Rosa for the first time, positioning himself as potentially the first ever Dutch winner of the Giro d’Italia. Movistar’s Andrey Amador and Alejandro Valverde lost time, while Vincenzo Nibali finished 37″ behind Chaves and Kruijswijk and now lies second overall at 41 seconds.
Stage 14 winner Esteban Chaves said in the press conference: “Thank you all for being here. Orica – Greenedge has been like a family for me since I signed my contract. At the time, one of my arms was badly injured and a doctor told me that I’d never be able to ride a bike again after my accident. That’s why I raised it in the air when I crossed the line. This year my team-mate Mathew Hayman won Paris-Roubaix after breaking an arm too. I’ve always dreamt of winning a stage at the Giro. It’s wonderful that I’ve done it at the queen stage. It’s too early to say if I can win the Giro or not.”
Maglia Rosa Steven Kruijswijk said: “This is a wonderful day for me. I was dreaming a little bit as I was pretty close to the Maglia Rosa. It means a lot to me. This is my sixth participation to the Giro. I love the Giro because I love climbing. Last year I was in contention with Contador, Aru and Landa in the mountains in the third week but I had lost some time in the first week. I only lost ten seconds to Nibali in the previous time trial. If I do the same tomorrow, it’ll mean that I’ll keep the Maglia Rosa but I actually hope to gain time even though of course I’m tired, like eveyrone else”.
Best young rider Bob Jungels: “I felt quite good, I have to say. But it’s been an incredibly hard day, something that I had never seen before. On the second last climb, I wasn’t able to follow. I just survived. I’m happy that I still have the Maglia Bianca and I’m not too far off in GC but it’ll take a while to recover from this stage in the mountains. You don’t win the Giro the first time you take part in it. You have to know the climbs. It’s really tough. I hope I’ll come back and win one day”.
King of the Mountains Damiano Cunego: “Today it was probably the first really hard stage of the Giro d’Italia. I was racing for the stage win, not only the Maglia Azzurra, but the changes of rhythm took their toll on me, physically and mentally, and eventually I switched my focus to the mountains points alone. I’m in good shape but the level is very high and the other riders are in good shape too”.