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New Colombian Trek rider emerges as the strongest in exciting duel with Stetina in the first summit finish of the Tour de San Luis while Gaimon limits his losses to defend the overall lead

Photo: Trek Factory Racing










21.01.2014 @ 22:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Julian Arredondo kicked his professional career with Trek off in the best possible way when he won the first of three summit finishes on the second day of the Tour de San Luis. In an exciting duel with Peter Stetina (BMC), the Colombian emerged as the strongest in the sprint at the top of the Mirador del Potrero climb while overnight leader Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) limited his losses sufficiently to defend his overall lead in the 7-day race.


For the second day in a row, the stage was won by a neo-professional when the Tour de San Luis entered the mountains on today's second stage of the race. After Phil Gaimon's surprise win from a long-distance breakaway in yesterday's flat stage, it was climber Julian Arredondo who took the spoils on the second day.


In his first race as a Trek rider, Arredondo emerged as the strongest on the final climb Mirador del Potrero after having been involved in a thrilling duel with Peter Stetina. The duo escaped on the lower slopes of the 4,8km climb and managed to keep the dwindling main group at bay all the way to the finish.


As the group approach from behind, Stetina upped the pace and briefly appeared to have put Arredondo into difficulty. However, the Colombian overcame his crisis and showed superior sprinting skills when the duo decided the win at the top of the climb.


Pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana (Movistar) had suffered from gastroenteritis yesterday but was reported to feel better on the second day. That was apparently true as the Tour de France runner-up accelerated near the finish and crossed the line in 3rd with a 3-second time loss to the first two riders across the line.


Overnight leader Phil Gaimon proved that the race favourites may have made a costly mistake by giving him a 4.35 advantage as he finished in 15th in the group of GC contenders, only conceding 8 seconds to Arredondo and Stetina. This allows him to comfortably defend his lead as he now has a 1.47 lead over Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthCare) in 2nd.


Gaimon will get an easier day tomorrow when the riders tackle the 175,8km third stage. The route is mostly flat and expected to suit the sprinters but an uphill finishing straight could make for a slightly different kind of sprint.


The first summit finish

After Philip Gaimon's surprise win on stage 1, the Tour de San Luis continued with a 170,6km second stage from La Punta to the top of the category 1 Mirador del Potrero climb. The stage was mostly flat but the final ascent was 4,km long with an average gradient of 6,7% and so was expected to give the first indication of who is going to win this year's Tour de San Luis.


The early part of the stage was dominated by several mechanicals as Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Walter Perez (Buenos Aires) all had to go back to their respective team cars to fix their problems. However, that didn't prevent some of the local riders to go on the attack and the early escape was formed very early in the stage.


The break builds up an advantage

Jorge Giacinti (San Luis), Cristian Martinez (San Luis), Sebastian Tolosa (Buenos Aires), Sebastian Trillini (Buenos Aires) and Jonathan Guzman (Chile) managed to get clear and were allowed to build up a gap that reached a maximum of 4.40. Having learnt from yesterday's mistake, however, there was a much earlier reaction from the peloton which didn't allow the group any more leeway.


The Garmin-Sharp team of race leader Gaimon assumed its position on the front of the peloton, with Ben King and Nate Brown doing much of the early work for the American team. For most of the day, the advantage was kept stable at around the 4-minute mark as the duo of new signings swapped turns on the front of the group.


Less drama

After yesterday's dramatic stage that was dominated by extreme heat, crashes, wind and several riders suffering from gastroenteritis, today's stage was significantly calmer. While the peloton was happy to have an easier day, the escapees battled for points on the first category 3 climb and the two intermediate sprints.


Martinez beat his teammate Giacinti and Tolosa on the climb to equal the tally of Gaimon who was also the first leader of the mountains classification. The pace was too much for Trillini who was dropped and quickly reabsorbed by the peloton.


Tolosa in the sprint jersey

The four remaining escapees contested the first intermediate sprint, with Tolosa beating Guzman and Giacinti. Tolosa repeated the feat at the second sprint, this time beating Giacinti and Guzman in reverse order.


The points were enough for Tolosa to take over the lead in the sprints classification from Julian Gaday and with that mission accomplished, he was dropped by his escape companions. Giacinti, Martinez and Guzman continued their fight but the gap was now down to less than 3 minutes as the peloton had started to move faster.


The break is caught

With 18km to go, the advantage was still 2.10 but as the battle for position intensified in the main group, the break could see its gap melt away. With 7km to go, they were absorbed by the main group which powered towards the bottom of the final climb.


Moreno Moser (Cannondale), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) and Josue Moyano (San Luis) were the first riders to attack on the ascent and they managed to stay away for a little while before being reabsorbed by the rapidly dwindling peloton. Instead, Arredondo and Stetina made their move and the duo quickly got a solid gap.


Arredondo attacks

Inside the final 2km, Arredondo tried to get rid of his companion but Stetina was able to respond. As the main group approached from behind, the BMC rider hit the front and briefly gapped Arredondo who dug deep to stay in contact.


With less than 500m to go, the peloton was breathing down the escapees' necks and so Stetina was forced to start a long sprint. However, Arredondo had more power than his American rival and had no trouble passing him on the left to take the win. Quintana accelerated from the main peloton near the top and managed to gap most of his rivals as he crossed the line in third.



1. Julian Arredondo 4.13.21

2. Peter Stetina

3. Nairo Quintana +0.03

4. Darwin Atapuma

5. Domenico Pozzovivo +0.05

6. Haimar Zubeldia

7. Ivan Santaromita

8. Damiano Caruso +0.08

9. Miguel Angel Rubiano

10. Eduardo Sepulveda


General classification:

1. Philip Gaimon 8.20.34

2. Marc De Maar +1.47

3. Christian Meier +3.56

4. Peter Stetina +4.16

5. Julian Arredondo

6. Darwin Atapuma +4.19

7. Nairo Quintana

8. Haimar Zubeldia +4.21

9. Domenico Pozzovivo

10. Ivan Santaromita



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