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Quintana targets 2015 Tour de France after Giro win

ESPN staff
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Nairo Quintana became the first South American to win the Giro d'Italia © Getty Images
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Nairo Quintana has targeted victory in next year's Tour de France after winning the Giro d'Italia on Sunday.

Quintana, of Movistar, won two stages of this year's race and beat fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran by three minutes and seven seconds in the overall standings for his maiden Grand Tour victory. Italy's Fabio Aru finished in third, four minutes and four seconds behind Quintana.

Quintana claimed the pink jersey by winning a grueling 16th stage over the Gavia and Stelvio climbs in treacherous conditions and also won the mountain time trial stage 19.

While he isn't planning to enter the Tour de France race this year, Quintana confirmed he will take part in 2015 and has designs on going one better on his runner-up finish to Chris Froome in 2013.

"I can finally say I've won the Giro,'' Quintana said. "I have to thank my team-mates and my family here supporting me."

He added: "It was a difficult decision to take [to skip the Tour this year], but it was the best decision in the end. Next year, I will return to the Tour."

The final stage was won by Slovenia's Luca Mezgec in a mass sprint. He finished the stage in four hours, 23 minutes and 58 seconds.

Dressed entirely in pink, Quintana finished safely in the middle of the pack and pumped his fist as he crossed the line then hugged his team-mates when he got off his bike.

Quintana was the subject of controversy after his 16th stage win, having attacked on the descent from the Stelvio then powered up the final climb in the lead. There had been confusion over whether the descent on a wet road was going to be neutralised but race officials declared afterward that his victory was legitimate.

Colombians have won the mountains classification at the Giro seven times but this is the first time a rider from the South American country won the race - and with Uran, it was a sweep of the top two spots.

Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos called to congratulate Quintana on Saturday after he had virtually clinched the title.

"I feel like the entire country is supporting me,'' Quintana said numerous times during the three-week race.

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