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The Trek rider matches repeated accelerations from Quintana and finally has enough left in the tank to launch a fierce sprint at the top of the final climb to take his second stage win; Quintana comfortable defends the lead

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






25.01.2014 @ 20:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Julian Arredondo (Trek) continued his impressive debut as a professional rider when he beat Sergio Godoy (San Luis) and race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at the top of the steep Mirador del Sol climb on the penultimate stage of the Tour de San Luis. Having responded to repeated accelerations from Quintana, he finally launched his own sprints to take his second and Trek's third stage win in the race while Quintana's 3rd place was enough to defend the overall lead with just one flat stage to come.


Julian Arredondo could not have wished a better debut in Trek colours than the one is experiencing in the Tour de San Luis. After having won the first mountain stage of the race on day two, he doubled his tally in today's final mountain stage of the race.


With the early break safely back in the fold, all was set for a big showdown on the final climb of Mirador del Sol whose steep gradients of more than 15% made it one for the pure climbers. Hard tempo by the San Luis and Movistar teams whittled the peloton down to just 8 riders who neared the top with Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) setting the pace.


Inside the final 2km, race leader Nairo Quintana who was looking very comfortable, decided that it was time to go alone and he put in a fierce acceleration. However, Arredondo was always on his wheel and when Sergio Godoy (San Luis) also bridged across, things came back together.


Inside the final 500m, Quintana tried another acceleration but he was unable to shake off Godoy and Arredondo. Instead of soloing across the line, the Tour runner-up started to fade and this opened the door for Arredondo to again show his formidable uphill sprint. The Trek rider easily passed Quintana and took another beautiful win in the Argentinean mountains while Godoy crossed the line in 2nd ahead of Quintana.


Despite today's defeat, Quintana comfortable extended his overall lead over Phillip Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) who again did an impressive ride to defend his 2nd place. Arredondo moved into 4th but it is Quintana who is poised to take the win when the race ends tomorrow.


The final stage is a slightly undulating 148,1km trek in the San Luis suburbs and is expected to end in a sprint for the tough sprinters who excel on the uphill finishing straight.


A steep finishing climb

The 184,4km penultimate stage was the longest of the entire race and took the riders from Las Chacras to the top of the category 1 climb Mirador del Sol which has been a regular feature in the Tour de San Luis in recent years. The race was mostly flat but things got serious near the end, with a small category 3 climb preceding the final 7km ascent. The average gradient of 8,75% was slightly deceptive as the first part was rather easy while the second part offered two kilometres with an average of around 15%.


The stage was off to a very fast start as several riders showed interest in being part of the early action.  The first group to get a significant gap consisted of Julian Gaday (Buenos Aires), Cristian Martinez (San Luis), Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Claudio Arone (Buenos Aires) and the quartet managed to build up a gap of more than 20 seconds.


The first crash

However, the peloton was not intent on letting them go and as the pace was kept high, a crash brought down Luke Keough (Unitedhealthcare) and Emanuel Guevara (San Luis). Luckily both were able to continue in the race.


After 29 minutes of racing, the group was brought back and this opened the door for more attacks to be launched. Another crash happened in this hectic phase and this one had a bigger impact, forcing Eugenio Alafaci (Trek), Eloy Teruel (Jamis) and Matias Presa (Uruguay) to abandon the race.


The break is formed

Finally, the elastic snapped when Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEDGE), Lawrence Warbasse (BMC), Juan Esteban Arango (Colombia), Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol), Richard Mascaranas (Uruguay), Gregory Brenes (Jamis) and Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne) got clear. The peloton was content with the composition of the break and allowed it to gradually build up a gap.


The race settled into a steady rhythm after the hectic start and the riders enjoyed cooler temperatures for the second day in a row after some extremely hot days at the start of the race. Mascaranas had a mechanical that forced him to change his bike but easily found his way back into the breakaway group.


The gap almost reaches 6 minutes

While Mascaranas beat Warbasse and Delaplace in the first intermediate sprint, the gap kept growing and reached a maximum of 5.50 after a bit more than 2 hours of racing. At this time, the peloton started to up the pace and the chase kicked off in earnest.


The gap started to come down at a rapid pace and as the break passed the second intermediate sprint 40,3km from the finish, the advantage was below 3 minutes. This time Dehaes beat Mascaranas to pick up maximum points in the sprint.


The break splits up

Shortly after that point, the break split as Delaplace, Arango, Keukeleire and Warbasse left Dehaes, Mascaranas and Brenes behind. Those three riders were quickly swallowed up by the peloton while the front quartet battled on for a little longer.


The peloton was now going full speed as the riders battled for position for the final climb. Again a big crash  brought down more than 30 riders, with Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Daniel Jaramillo (Jamis) being some of the worst affected. However, both were able to continue in the race.


Things are back together

At this time the front quartet was still more than a minute ahead but on the lower slopes of the category 3 climb, it was finally over and all was set for a big showdown between the climbers on the steep Mirador del Sol.


As expected, it was the Movistar and San Luis teams who set the pace when the road started to point upwards and very quickly the group was whittled down to just 9 riders. One of them tried to get clear inside the final 2km but was brought back by the group of favourites that contained the likes of Godoy, Arredondo Quintana and Domenico Pozzovivo, with the latter being responsible for the pace-setting.


Quintana makes his move

Quintana now tried to attack his rivals but Arredondo was quickly on his wheel and Godoy also managed to close it down. This prompted the race leader to stop his acceleration and the group came back together.


Finally, all would be decided in a hard uphill sprint between this select group of climbers. Quintana kicked hard near the end but Arredondo was always on his wheel. When the Movistar leader started to fade, Arredondo accelerated further and nobody had any response to his fierce speed. The Trek rider stormed across the line to his second win while Quintana sat down and was also passed by Godoy before crossing the line to defend his overall lead.



1. Julian Arredondo 4.16.54

2. Sergio Godoy +0.01

3. Nairo Quintana +0.05

4. Cleberson Weber +0.09

5. Jose Serpa +0.10

6. Domenico Pozzovivo +0.12

7. Tom Danielson +0.14

8. Philip Gaimon

9. Adam Yates +0.30

10. Eduardo Sepulveda


General classification:

1. Nairo Quintana 21.35.13

2. Phil Gaimon +0.35

3. Sergio Godoy +1.57

4. Julian Arredondo +2.54

5. Enzo Moyano +2.59

6. Eduardo Sepulveda +3.38

7. Peter Stetina +3.46

8. Marc De Maar +3.51

9. Darwin Atapuma

10. Domenico Pozzovivo +3.52


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