Mist and Snow Add to Epic Day at the Giro d'Italia Cycling Race

PHOTO: Movistar team cyclists lead the pack as they climb among fog and snow during the 16th stage of the Giro dItalia cycling race from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, Italy, May 27, 2014.

A dramatic mountain finish in today's stage of the Giro d'Italia, coupled with brutal weather conditions in the Italian Alps, is prompting some cycling enthusiasts to dub this one of the most epic stages in recent cycling history.

Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana's win through mist and snow-banked roads in Stage 16 of the 21-day tour propelled him into the overall lead.

Quintana, 24, known for his prodigious climbing skills, finished 8 seconds ahead of Canadian Ryder Hesjedal on the 86-mile route, which included the legendary Gavia and Stelvio climbs.

"It was raining a lot," said Quintana, of team Movistar. "We all knew it was very dangerous."

"I went at my rhythm. I gave everything today. I was climbing well in the end," Quintana said.

PHOTO: Colombias Nairo Quintana rides and wins the 16th stage of the 97th Giro dItalia (Tour of Italy) cycling race, 139 km from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, on May 27, 2014 in Val Martello.
Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Colombia's Nairo Quintana rides and wins the 16th stage of the 97th Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) cycling race, 139 km from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, on May 27, 2014 in Val Martello.

Quintana took the overall lead from his fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who slipped to second overall in what is called the general classification.

Today's stage, which was the first time that both the Gavia and the Stelvio were climbed on the same day, was a crucial test for uphill specialists such as Quintana. The 21st and final stage of the tour is scheduled for June 1, ending in the northern Italian city of Trieste.

PHOTO: Colombias Nairo Quintana sprays champagne on the podium as he celebrates winning the 16th stage of the 97th Giro dItalia (Tour of Italy) cycling race, 139 km from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, on May 27, 2014 in Val Martello.
Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Colombia's Nairo Quintana sprays champagne on the podium as he celebrates winning the 16th stage of the 97th Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) cycling race, 139 km from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, on May 27, 2014 in Val Martello.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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