Julian Arredondo finished at the head of the pack in Stage 18 of 2014's Giro d'Italia, working his way to claim a 17-second victory that will undoubtedly go down as the biggest achievement of his career so far.
Sky Sports confirmed the triumph, with Colombian compatriot Fabio Duarte behind him in second while Team Sky's Philip Deignan placed in third:
Despite not being able to hold down a leading spot during Thursday's climb, Nairo Quintana finished 10th to retain the pink jersey with an overall time of 77 hours, 58 minutes and eight seconds.
|2014 Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Results|
|1||Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Trek Factory Racing)||4:49:51|
|2||Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Colombia)||+0:00:17|
|3||Philip Deignan (Team Sky)||+0:00:37|
|4||Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli)||+0:01:20|
|5||Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF)||+0:01:24|
|6||Thomas De Gendt (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team)||+0:01:38|
|7||Ivan Basso (Cannondale)||+0:01:43|
|8||Dario Cataldo (Team Sky)||+0:01:59|
|9||Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team)||+0:02:43|
|10||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar Team)||+0:02:46|
Fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran finished just behind Quintana on the way up Rifugio Panarotta, with his nearest rival now sitting one minute and 41 seconds behind in the standings.
The Irish Independent's Ruaidhri O'Connor was quick to praise Deignan's performance in particular, with Sky looking to stage their own move on the top places:
It was with four kilometres remaining that Arredondo made his most important surge in order to distance himself from the breakaway group, and through a very evident bit of energy-sapping hard work, he managed to fend off the insistent challenge of Duarte.
Velo News quotes Arredondo in reacting to his victory after the Category 1 climb:
After San Luis, where I won two stages, the Giro became my principal objective for the season. It’s going better than I could have dreamed. I have a stage, and I have the climber’s jersey … I am so happy. I still cannot believe it.
It was a difficult day for Cadel Evans, however, as the Australian dropped off five kilometres from the end and, as a result, plummeted through the overall rankings after not being able to contend with the pace of Thursday's assault on the mountaintop.
BMC Racing's lead went from third, contending with Quintana and Uran for top honours, to ninth, four minutes and 59 seconds off the pace.
|2014 Giro d'Italia General Classification After Stage 18|
|1||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar Team)||77:58:08|
|2||Rigoberto Uran Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team)||+0:01:41|
|3||Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar)||+0:03:29|
|4||Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team)||+0:03:31|
|5||Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo)||+0:03:31|
|6||Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale)||+0:03:52|
|7||Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp)||+0:04:32|
|8||Wilco Kelderman (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)||+0:04:37|
|9||Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team)||+0:04:59|
|10||Robert Kiserlovski (Trek Factory Racing)||+0:08:33|
Europcar's Pierre Rolland was more than happy to capitalise upon Evans' hardships, though, and now takes third place as his own. But the margins are slim in that portion of the standings, with Fabio Aru hot on his tail and just two seconds away.
The 171-kilometre ride served as a dust-settler before Friday's time trials, that coming just before the longer-distance action then returns on Saturday for the closing two stages of the Giro d'Italia.
Arredondo will savour the taste of victory in what was a very testing stage of the competition, with ascents reaching as high as 14 percent for stretches.
The 25-year-old still doesn't factor among the top 10 of the leaderboard, but another new name entering the winning sphere simply puts another intriguing twist on matters after 18 stages.
Only three stages remain in total as the Giro reaches its climax this weekend, where Quintana will seek to not only hold off those persistent figures chasing down his lead, but stretch the gap even further.
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