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“I thank God for this victory. In the last months I trained hard and was very focused on winning for the team, to thank them for their trust in me. I like very hot circumstances a lot. Just as I like short and explosive climbs,"...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






22.01.2014 @ 14:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Julian Arredondo got his professional career off to a perfect start when he won the first mountain stage in the Tour de San Luis against some of the best riders in the world. Keen to pay back the team's confidence right from the beginning, the diminutive Colombian climber had trained hard to come out with all guns blazing and was overjoyed to have been successful on the very first occasion.


When Julian Arredondo beat the world elite to win last year's Tour de Langkawi, the cycling world realized that the tiny Colombian climber was a great talent. His performances attracted the interest of several strong teams and it was no surprise to see him sign a contract with the Trek team for his first season in the WorldTour.


Yesterday Arredondo again raised eyebrows when he won the second stage of the Tour de San Luis by riding away from some of the strongest climbers in the world on the final climb, Mirador del Potrero. He responded when BMC's Peter Stetina made an attack and managed to beat his American rival in the final sprint.


As a Colombian, Arredondo excels in the very hot condition in Argentina and he found the short explosive climb to the finish to his liking. He was overjoyed to have paid back the team's confidence right from the beginning.


“I cannot believe what just happened,” he said. “I thank God for this victory. In the last months I trained hard and was very focused on winning for the team, to thank them for their trust in me. I like very hot circumstances a lot. Just as I like short and explosive climbs. I didn’t realize how strong I was. You have no reference in the winter and there are many WorldTour teams here.


“I feel so happy and grateful for this opportunity to race with such a big team," he added. "Let's hope this is not the last victory for this team. A good shape is always a pleasure. I want to thank all my teammates for looking after Haimar [Zubeldia] and me today. I felt really strong and I'm so happy that I could finish their hard work. We'll need to see what our goals for the rest of the week are. But one thing is sure: we'll do the maximum. The team spirit is high!”


Arredondo was not the only top performer for Trek on the stage. Veteran Haimar Zubeldia finished with the main favourites in 6th and is now well-positioned for a high overall result.


Zubeldia rarely starts his season too strongly and was pleasantly surprised by his performance on a climb that didn't suit his characteristics.


“The stage was quite hard, because of the last climb with five [kilometers] to go," he said. There was some wind and the team did a great job sheltering Julián and myself. Julián is enjoying some great form right now and he made a very good move by following Stetina. We expected that it could come down to a sprint between the strongest climbers, so we decided that would be our plan. I'm surprised at my own performance, because I prefer longer climbs to these short, explosive ones.


“We started our season really well, with Hayden's [Roulston] win in New Zealand and now this victory,” he continued. “Lo que bien empieza, bien termina, as we say! It's going to be a great year!” 


Sports director Alain Gallopin was pleased with his team.


“The team did a fantastic job," he said. "They were all dedicated to Julián today, he is new to the team, but it is also a brand new team, and to have everyone come together like that today was special."


With a time trial coming up, Arredondo may have a difficult time winning the race overall. Hence, the focus was always on stage wins for the Colombian.


“Julián is not very good in the time trial,” explained Gallopin, “So we are not here to play for the overall - our goal is to win a stage. I told Julián we are going to go for the real thing; we are not just going to show off the jersey, we are not here to make a show on the climb by attacking. You wait and follow and make one good sprint at the end for the win.”


The sprinters will be back in action in today's third stage while Arredondo will try to excel again in the mountaintop finishes on stages 4 and 6.



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