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Launching a long sprint on the uphill finishing straight, Gaviria put daylight into Cavendish and Modolo to win his second stage in the Tour de San Luis; Diaz defended his lead

FERNANDO GAVIRIA

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

MARK CAVENDISH

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

SACHA MODOLO

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

TOUR DE SAN LUIS

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
21.01.2015 @ 22:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fernando Gaviria (Colombian national team) proved that his stage 1 win was no fluke when he repeated the impressive performance in stage 3 of the Tour de San Luis. On the uphill finishing straight, he launched a long sprint and easily held off established WorldTour stars Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) and Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) while Daniel Diaz (Funvic) defended his overall lead.

 

Two days ago Fernando Gaviria got a lot of attention when he surprisingly beat Mark Cavendish and Sacha Modolo in the bunch sprint on the first stage of the Tour de San Luis. Today the established WorldTour stars got their chance for revenge as the third stage offered the second sprint opportunity in the race.

 

Throughout the entire race, Cavendish and Modolo made their intentions clear as they firmly controlled the early breakaway and made sure that it came down to the expected sprint finish on the tough uphill finishing straight in Juana Koslay. With one kilometre to go, their Etixx-QuickStep and Lampre-Merida teams seemed to have everything under control when the Belgian team easily held off a late surge from Gaviria’s national team and lined out 5 riders on the front.

 

However, the Colombians refused to give up and when Lukasz Wisniowski swung off and left it to Michal Golas to continue the Etixx-QuickStep momentum, Gaviria’s lead-out man sprinted past the mighty Belgian train. Behind the Colombian, Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) had Gaviria on his wheel while Etixx-QuickStep – with Modolo latched onto Cavendish’s wheel – drifted backwards.

 

While Pozzato and later an UnitedHealthCare rider accelerated on the front, Michal Kwiatkowski tried to bring the Etixx-QuickStep team back to the front but it was all too late. Like he did on stage 1, Gaviria launched a long sprint and quickly distanced everybody else. Cavendish tried to do a similarly long sprint but never got any closer to the young Colombian, rolling across the line in second while Modolo completed the podium.

 

With the win Gaviria has established himself as the rider to beat in the Argentinean bunch sprints and now Cavendish and Modolo only have one chance to beat the 20-year-old Colombian. However, they have to wait until Sunday’s final stage which is the final opportunity for the sprinters.

 

For Daniel Diaz (Funvic), it was an easy day in the saddle and he safely defended his overall lead. Hence, he goes into stage 4 with a 6-second advantage over Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) but he can expect a much tougher challenge tomorrow. The stage may be almost entirely flat but in the end, the riders will go up the HC climb of Cerro del Amago before descending the final 1.5km to the finish. This is where Nairo Quintana (Movistar) laid the foundations for his 2014 win and he will be keen to repeat his win on the Argentinean climb.

 

A flat stage

After the first battle in the mountains, it was back into flatter terrain for stage 3 where the riders travelled 176.3km from Concaran to Juana Koslay. With no categorized climbs, the stage was almost completely flat but the riders faced a tough uphill finale that would make it hard for the pure sprinter to make their mark.

 

For the third day in a row, the riders took the start under beautiful sunny conditions and again they were off to a very fast opening phase. The attacking was fierce in the first kilometres and several groups went off the front before being brought back again.

 

The break takes off

Finally, the elastic snapped when Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthCare), Giacomo Berlato (Vini Fantini), Guido Palma (Buenos Aires), Lucas Lopardo (San Juan) and Ismael Laguna (Argentina) got an advantage. While the peloton slowed down, Jose Rodriguez (Chile) took off and the Chilean successfully bridged the gap.

 

The sextet started to build a gap and after 90 minutes of racing, they were 4 minutes ahead. In the peloton, it was the Etixx-QuickStep team that took control, with Guillaume van Keirsbulck setting the pace.

 

A big crash

While the Belgian kept the gap at around the 4-minute mark for much of the day, a crash brought down riders from Ag2r and the Argentinean National Team. Unfortunately, Laureano Rosas (San Juan) and Julio Gil (Argentina) were unable to continue as he left the race in an ambulance.

 

Lampre-Merida joined Etixx-QuickStep in the chase and this caused the gap to come down. 76km from the finish, the advantage was only 3.30 and when Palma beat Lopardo and Berlato in the second intermediate sprint, the escapees were just 2.20 ahead.

 

The break is caught

The gap came down to 1.40 before the peloton briefly stepped off the gas, allowing the escapees to extend their advantage to 2.41. However, the peloton was intent on not letting the opportunity slip away and Etixx-QuickStep and Lampre-Merida again hit the gas, bringing the gap down to 1.05 with 32km to go.

 

The escapees briefly managed to extend their advantage to 1.22 but with 23km to go, it had been cut down to just 48 seconds. Rodriguez beat Palma and Lopardo in the final intermediate sprint but moments later the break was caught.

 

Italy takes control

While Lampre-Merida and Etixx-QuickStep kept the speed high, David Williams (Jamis) went down in a crash. Another incident took out Mauro Finetto (Italy) who had an unfortunate puncture.

 

Inside the final 5km, the two big WorldTour teams left the front to allow the Italian team to take the over, with the national formation being keen to set up Jakub Mareczko for the sprint. They were passed by Movistar who wanted to keep Nairo Quintana out of trouble.

 

Adriano Malori rode hard on the front with his Colombian captain on his wheel before the battle between the sprint trains started. When the Colombian team tried to move up, Etixx-QuickStep accelerated and they had five riders lined out on the front when they passed the flamme rouge. While a crash split the peloton, the Belgian team seemed to have everything under control but it was a late surge from Gaviria’s lead-out man that set the youngster up for a second win.

 

Result:

1. Fernando Gaviria

2. Mark Cavendish

3. Sacha Modolo

4. Yauheni Hutarovich

5. Eduard Grosu

6. Nicolas Marini

7. Marco Canola

8. Julian Gaday

9. Emanuel Guevara

10. Diego Milan

11. Armindo Fonseca

12. Ilnur Zakarin

13. Ken Hanson

14. Fabio Sabatini

15. Lucas Gaday

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