March 15, 2015

TERMINILLO, Italy (AP) Nairo Quintana won a snowy fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday with an impressive solo attack on the final climb to move into the overall lead after the race's toughest leg.

The Colombian, who won last year's Giro d'Italia, clocked 5 hours, 26 minutes, 3 seconds over the 194-kilometer (120.6-mile) leg from Esanatoglia to Terminillo after making his move five kilometers (3.1 miles) from the finish as the snow came down heavily.

Bauke Mollema was second, 41 seconds behind Quintana. Joaquim Rodriguez won a bunch sprint for third, 55 seconds off the pace.

Quintana leads the overall standings, 39 seconds ahead of Mollema. Rigoberto Uran slipped a place to third, 48 seconds behind Quintana.

Monday's penultimate stage is a 210-kilometer (130.5-mile) leg from Rieti to Porto Sant'Elpidio.

The 50th edition of the race across central Italy ends Tuesday with an individual time trial.

There was an early break of eight riders and they had a lead of over seven minutes after only 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) with the peloton happy to reserve its energy for the tough final climb, which had an average gradient of 7.3 percent and a maximum of 12.

The main bunch had cleared the first two big mountains before beginning a concerted effort to bring back the leaders and the gap was cut to two minutes at the foot of the climb to Terminillo.

Michele Scarponi, Maxime Monfort and Alessandro De Marchi escaped off the break on the challenging ascent and Scarponi dropped the other two shortly afterward as snow began to fall.

Quintana made the first big move of the race favorites, glancing quickly over his shoulder before speeding up the left hand side of the road. He caught and dropped Scarponi with 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) remaining.

Defending Tirreno champion Alberto Contador swiftly responded and set off in pursuit of Quintana, bringing a group of riders with him including stage four winner and race leader Wouter Poels.

Contador made a series of attacks but could not shake off the other riders and it was Mollema who managed to break free and charge after Quintana alone.

Contador finished fifth, with a group of riders which had the same time as third-place Rodriguez.

The Spaniard is over a minute behind Quintana.

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