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Nairo Quintana hit out in the closing stages to take an impressive victory at the Giro dell'Emilia.
The Colombian star (Movistar) attacked out of a strong group of four riders in the final kilometre and stayed clear to the line.
Quintana escaped the clutches of Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) and Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Giocattoli), the pair rounding out the podium positions following a grandstand finish.
As predicted the race was shaped by the ascent of the San Luca climb, a larger group of in-form climbers coming together ahead of the final lap before splinter attacks exposed the strongest riders.
The strain of the finishing circuit had seen the peloton begin to split apart as the race headed into the closing stages in Bologna.
The win for Quintana continued a season of strength for Colombian riders in the peloton, an attack spearheaded in part by Team Sky pairing Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao.
Nineteen riders headed up the road early on, Team Sky's Danny Pate among the participants in a move which featured the majority of teams in the race
With the move deemed too dangerous and shut down there was a general regrouping before Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Marco Marzano (Lampre-ISD), Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) and Giairo Ermeti (Androni-Giocattoli) combined to go clear.
The strong quartet shook off the attentions of the peloton to build up a buffer as they entered the Rocca di Roffeno circuit, ultimately taking 7:00 on the chasing pack following the Passo Sella della Croce.
Eventually the gap began to come down quickly, Farnese Vini and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank among the teams pulling hard on the front as the pace intensified.
As things threatened to close back up Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky) was among a number of riders who attempted to jump clear on the undulating terrain.
The break found themselves all but swept up as the race entered the 9km finishing circuit featuring the tough San Luca climb.
Fabio Aru (Astana) and Emanuele Sella (Androni-Giocattoli) were quickly on the attack but it would be the move of Quintana which proved most significant at the finish.