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Marezcko and Viviani made it a 1-2 for the Italian national team in the final sprint stage of the Tour de San Luis; Dayer Quintana won the race overall ahead of Sepulveda and his brother Nairo

Photo: Etixx - Quick-Step/Tim De Waele

DAYER QUINTANA

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EDUARDO SEPULVEDA

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ELIA VIVIANI

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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NAIRO QUINTANA

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TOUR DE SAN LUIS

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VINI ZABU KTM

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24.01.2016 @ 21:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jakub Marezcko confirmed that he is a future top sprinter in the making by taking the biggest win of his career in the final stage of the Tour de San Luis. With a late surge in the bunch sprint, he edged out teammate from the Italian national team Elia Viviani on a photo finish, with Jason Lowndes (Drapac) holding off Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) in the fight for third. Dayer Quintana (Movistar) finished in the bunch and took the overall victory ahead of Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and his brother and teammate Nairo.

 

At the start of the 2015 season, Southeast claimed that they had the next Italian top sprinter in their ranks as Italian Jakub Mareczko had joined the squad for his neo-pro season. Throughout his debut year, he proved his speed on numerous occasions and even though he lacked the endurance to contend in the European races, he had picked up four wins in smaller races when he travelled to China for the end-of-season races.

 

In Asia, Mareczko proved how much he has developed as he won a stage in the 2.HC Tour of Hainan and completely dominated the 2.1 Tour of Taihu Lake, winning 7 of 9 stages and the overall. That has set him up for a breakthrough 2016 season and today he got it off to the best possible start when he took the biggest win of his career against the stars in the final stage of the Tour de San Luis.

 

Mareczko was part of the Italian national team for the race and was expected to work for teammate Elia Viviani in the final bunch sprint that took place after a fast circuit race in the city of San Luis. However, the Italians did separate sprint and ended up coming away with a 1-2.

 

In fact, it looked like Viviani was going to win the stage as he had a comfortable lead just metres from the line. However, Mareczko suddenly came fast from behind and in a photo finish, he edged out his teammates.

 

The flat circuit race had been dominated by a four-rider break but it was all back together with 8km to go. Astana took control to keep Miguel Angel Lopez safe and they put five riders on the front. As their teammates faded away, it was Vincenzo Nibali who took over with Lopez on his wheel.

 

The Italian champion took a massive turn for several kilometres while the sprint train were fighting for position. He only drifted backwards when Lukasz Wisniowski and Stijn Vandenbergh came to the fore to prepare the sprint fore to prepare the sprint for Etixx-QuickStep teammate Maximiliano Richeze.

 

Wisniowski and Vandenbergh continued to ride on the front while Tinkoff, Lampre-Merida and Nippo-Vini Fantini were fighting for position behind. They got some welcome assistance as Nibali came through for one final turn.

 

When Nibali swung out, Wisniowski was back on the front before a rider from the Italian national team took over. That’s when Etixx-QuickStep again came to the fore, with Fabio Sabatini leading Maximilano Richeze under the flamme rouge. Elia Viviani had slotted on the Argentinean’s wheel, followed by Peter Sagan.

 

Sabatini swung off to early and so Richeze found himself in the wind too early. He had no response when Viviani and Sagan launched their sprints and as the world champion drifted backwards, Viviani looked like he had taken the win.

 

However, his teammate Mareczko was doing his own sprint further back and the youngster suddenly came fast on the left-hand side of the road. It came down to a photo finish between the two teammates and it was Mareczko who was declared the winner, with Jason Lowndes (Drapac) passing Sagan to take third.

 

Dayer Quintana rolled safely across the line to secure himself the first overall stage race victory of his career with a 20-second advantage over Eduardo Sepulveda while his brother Nairo was 15 seconds further behind in third. Sepulveda could console himself with the win in the mountains classification while Emanuel Guevara (San Luis) won the sprints competition. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was the best young rider and Movistar took a comfortable win in the teams classification.

 

With the Tour de San Luis done and dusted, most of the professionals will move to Europe. However, most of the Colombians will stay on the continent for their national championships which is held in the beginning of February and is the next major South American event.

 

A flat stage

After yesterday’s queen stage, the sprinters were expected to be back in action for the final stage which brought the riders over 119.6km around the city of San Luis. The riders first tackled a lumpy first part which included an early category 3 climb and then ended the race by doing five laps of a 17km circuit that was mostly flat.

 

It was another brutally hot day when the riders gathered for the start and they got it off to a very aggressive beginning. There were lots of attack in the early part of the race and most of the WorldTour teams were part of the action.

 

Sepulveda takes the mountains jersey

It was impossible for anyone to get clear before the riders got to the only KOM sprint where Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) managed to beat Janier Acevedo (Jamis) and Roman Villalobos (Costa Rica) to take the overall win in the mountains competition. The attacking continued after the climb and finally three riders managed to escape.

 

Robin Carpenter (Holowesko), Mauricio Muller (San Juan) and Elias Tello (Chile) formed the break but just before they got to the finish line for the first time, sprints leader Emmanuel Guevara (San Luis) and Juan I. Curuchet (Argentina) made the junction. The timing was right for Guevara as the first intermediate sprint was located at the line.

 

Guevara wins the sprints jersey

Carpenter tried to anticipate the sprint by launching and attack but Guevara reacted quickly and managed to pass the American in time to claim maximum points, with Carpenter and Curuchet being next across the line. That was enough for the local riders to secure the sprints jersey and he celebrated his achievement by raising both arms.

 

The quintet managed to increase their advantage to around a minute and they still had such a gap when they entered the final 52km. In the peloton, Italy and Lampre-Merida had been the first to start the chase and they were quickly joined by Tinkoff, with those three teams keeping things under control.

 

Mechanical for Guevara

Curuchet beat Tello and Guevara in the final intermediate sprint with two laps to go at a point when the gap had been reduced to just 40 seconds. The Italian national team were doing the majority of the work with occasional contribution from Lampre-Merida, Tinkoff and the local San Luis team.

 

Guevara who had been very active in the break had bad luck to suffer an untimely mechanical and was dropped from the break which only had a 30-second advantage with 24km to go. The peloton was content with the situation and Lampre-Merida, Italy and Tinkoff kept the advantage at that mark when they entered the final 18km.

 

More attacks

As they started the final lap, Tinkoff hit the front with Jesper Hansen and he kept the gap at 30 seconds with 15km to go. However, under the impetus of the Astana and San Luis teams, the peloton accelerated and when they had the break within sight, two riders from local South American teams took off, passing the fading escapees.

 

It was all in vain though and they were caught by the peloton which was led by Tinkoff, Lampre-Merida, San Luis and Lampre-Merida. Juan Carlos Rojas (Costa Rica) was the next to try but it was all back together with 8km to, setting the scene for the bunch sprint.

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