Nairo Quintana wins Giro d'Italia

TRIESTE, Italy -- Nairo Quintana confirmed himself as cycling's next star by winning the Giro d'Italia on Sunday to follow his runner-up finish in last year's Tour de France.

The 24-year-old climbing specialist with the Movistar team won two stages and finished with a 3 minute, 7 second advantage over fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran for his first Grand Tour victory.

Italy's Fabio Aru finished third overall, 4:04 back.

Quintana took the pink jersey by winning the grueling 16th stage over the Gavia and Stelvio climbs then also took the 19th leg, a mountain time trial.

Quintana finished second to Chris Froome in last year's Tour. While he isn't planning to enter the French race this year, Quintana has designs on winning it next year.

Slovenia's Luca Mezgec won the final stage in a mass sprint. The Giant-Shimano rider clocked 4 hours, 23 minutes, 58 seconds over the mostly flat 172-kilometer (107-mile) leg from Gemona del Friuli to Trieste, which concluded with eight laps of a city circuit.

Giacomo Nizzolo of Italy finished second and Tyler Farrar of the United States was third, both with the same time as Mezgec.

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 teammates when he got off his bike.

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

Quintana faced controversy after the 16th stage, in which he attacked on the descent from the Stelvio then powered up the final climb in the lead. There had been some confusion over whether the descent on a wet road was going to be neutralized 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.