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"At 1km to go, when he got dropped, I said 'Phil, I think I can win the stage, but I'm going to wait with you, I'm going to pull you to the front. You see Quintana? He's one of the best in the world and you're right...

Photo: Sirotti








02.02.2014 @ 14:07 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) was relatively unknown before the start of 2014. Now, thanks to his performance in the Tour de San Luis, many cycling fans are well aware of the affable American.


No one was more impressed with the 28 year old than his teammate Tom Danielson.


Gaimon was not one of the teams GC riders going into the race (Danielson and new signing Janier Acevedo were) but he entered a breakaway on stage 1 and won the stage 4 and a half minutes clear of the peloton, the team dropped all ambitions in order to help Gaimon.


Danielson told Cyclingnews that the day on Mirador del Sol, the final stage of the race, was "one of my top experiences in the sport".

The two men have been friends since last year, when they met while out training together, and Danielson invited Gaimon to train with him in Arizona, saying he thought he would be a good addition to the Garmin team.


"I like his story - a college kid who found cycling. It's the true American cycling story. You need [riders like] Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen and Nate Brown - but the reality is that a lot of guys find the bike later or come from other sports."


After riding on Mt. Lemmon, Danielson realized how good Gaimon could be: "I told him last year on Mt. Lemmon - if you don't finish on the podium at Tour of California this year I'll be so pissed... but he crashed on his face [at the San Dimas Stage Race in March -ed.] and he had obstacles to overcome."


Those obstacles included a head injury that caused him to lose consciousness for a couple minutes and be airlifted from the course, and which resulted in a lengthy recovery. "He did a great job overcoming them," Danielson said.


While Gaimon did not win the Tour de San Luis, he showed just how good he was. And Danileson proved that winning is not always the most important thing. Despite finishing 2nd on GC Gaimon lost out only to Nairo Quintana, arguably the best climber in the world, and Danielson and Gaimon showed the value of teamwork.


"At 1km to go, when he got dropped, I said 'Phil, I think I can win the stage, but I'm going to wait with you, I'm going to pull you to the front. You see Quintana? He's one of the best in the world and you're right here ... you're doing it. I'll ride alongside you all the way to the finish line."


"It was unbelievable. It was one of my top experiences in the sport. That's what our team's about in a nutshell - to give people the vision, resources and the people to make dreams and objectives like that [come true]."


A truly magnificent sporting story.




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