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The Italian sprinter benefits from a perfect lead-out from teammate Richeze and manages to take a convincing win ahead of Sagan while Quintana finishes safely in the bunch to take his first overall win of the year
















26.01.2014 @ 21:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) repeated his 2013 win in the uphill sprint in Terrazas del Portezuelo when he beat Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in a fierce battle on the final day of the Tour de San Luis. Having been led perfectly out by teammate Maximilano Richeze, Modolo was by far the strongest while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished safely in the bunch to seal his overall win ahead of Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) and Sergio Godoy (San Luis).


One week ago Sacha Modolo was left frustrated when he won the bunch sprint on the opening day of the Tour de San Luis as the peloton had failed to reel in the early breakaway, meaning that his win was only good enough for 8th place. Two days later he faded away in the uphill sprint on stage 3 after having been led perfectly out by his teammates.


Today his team again gave an exhibition in the noble art of leading out a sprinter and this time Modolo didn't disappoint. On the final stage of the Argentinean race, he was perfectly delivered by teammates Filippo Pozzato and Maximilano Richeze and showed his speed by convincingly beating no less of a figure than Peter Sagan in the uphill sprint.


The win was a repeat for the fast Italian who is making his Lampre-Merida debut in the race as he had won the exact same sprint one year ago. The win is the second for Lampre in 2014 after Diego Ulissi's victory in Stirling in the Tour Down Under and it was testament to the team's dominance that Richeze even held on to 3rd.


In the final kilometres, it was the Cannondale and Lampre-Merida trains who battled for control and Sagan appeared to have things lined up perfectly when one of his teammates hit the front inside the final 500m. However, Richeze emerged as the strongest in the battle when he passed the Cannondale duo to deliver Modolo perfectly to the line.


It was a day of celebration for Movistar as Nairo Quintana had no difficulty on the mostly flat stage and finished safely in the bunch to defend his overall lead. Thus the Colombian took his first victory in a stage race in 2014, relegating surprises Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) and Sergio Godoy (San Luis) to the minor places on the podium.


With the Tour de San Luis over, the opening week of top level racing has come to an end and the next high-level races will be the opening races on the European calendar, with GP Costa degli Etruschi and GP La Marseillaise taking place next Sunday.


A stage for the sprinters

The Tour de San Luis ended with a short 148,1km stage from Juana Koslay to Terrazas del Portezuelo which mostly consisted of a few laps on an undulating circuit on the outskirts of San Luis. Despite the numerous smaller climbs and one category 3 climb, there were no major difficulties and as the final kilometres were mostly downhill, the stage was expected to suit the sprinters. The final kilometres were, however, uphill, making for an interesting sprint for the fast finishers.


The stage started without Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) who all decided that they had had enough racing for this week. The stage was off to a fierce start as several riders were keen to end their race by getting into the early escape. When the riders reached the only categorized climb of the day at the 17,1km mark, a break had still not been formed. As none of Nairo Quintana's rivals in the mountains classification took any points, the race leader only needed to finish the stage to also be crowned the winner of the mountains jersey.


Two riders take off

Shortly after the passage of the top, Cleberson Weber (Club Dataro) and Carlos Ochoa (Androni) managed to escape and when they passed the first intermediate sprint 6,4km later, they had built up a gap of 37 seconds. Weber took maximum points ahead of Ochoa while Sebastian Tolosa (Buenos Aires) sprinted to 3rd to protect the lead in the sprints competition for his teammate Julian Gaday.


The race still hadn't settled, with Carlos Betancur (Ag2r), Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia) and Pablo Alarcon (Chile) setting off in pursuit of the leading duo. When the junction were made, the peloton seemed to be content with the composition of the break and allowed them to build up a gap.


No big gap for the break

After missing out on the sprint opportunity on day 1, however, the peloton didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. As Valencia beat Weber and Ochoa in the second intermediate sprint - meaning that Gaday sealed his win in the sprints competition - the gap had come up to 2.55.


The pace was too much for Alarcon who fell off and was swallowed up by the peloton. The four remaining escapees continued their attempt to deny the peloton a sprint opportunity and increased their lead slightly to 3.00.


The peloton starts to chase in earnest

The gap came down to 2.45 but the peloton allowed it to grow back up to a maximum of 3.56. This was when the peloton decided that it was time to chase in earnest and from there the advantage came down at a rapid pace.


With 45km to go, the gap was only 1.55 and it was now clear that the break was doomed. Passing the 30km mark, the peloton made the catch, bringing things back together for the expected sprint finish.


A fierce pace

The sprinters' teams were now in full control and set a fierce pace for the remaining 30km while the fast finishers jostled for position. If anyone had had any hopes of getting away with a late move, they quickly realized that the sprinters had no intention of missing out again.


Entering the final few kilometres, it was Lampre-Merida and Cannondale who battled for control, wanting to set up the sprint for Sacha Modolo and Peter Sagan respectively. At first, it was the green-clad riders who appeared to have things lined out before a blue-fuchsia rider took control.


Inside the final kilometre, it was a Cannondale rider who appeared to have lined things out perfectly for Sagan who was well-placed on his wheel. However, he was overtaken by Maximiliano Richeze who sprinted ahead with Modolo tucked in behind.


Sagan was quick to grab Modolo's wheel and tried to come around the Italian when the sprint was launched. However, the Italian's pace was too fast and the Slovakian had to settle for 2nd behind the Lampre rider whose teammate Richeze held on to take the final podium spot.



1. Sacha Modolo 3.13.28

2. Peter Sagan

3. Maximiliano Richeze

4. Mauro Abel Richeze

5. Jens Keukeleire

6. Giacomo Nizzolo

7. Manuel Belletti

8. Tosh Van Der Sande

9. Tom Boonen

10. Taylor Phinney


General classification:

1. Nairo Quintana 24.48.48

2. Phil Gaimon +0.43

3. Sergio Godoy +2.02

4. Julian Arredondo +2.54

5. Enzo Moyano +3.04

6. Eduardo Sepulveda +3.43

7. Marc De Maar +3.44

8. Peter Stetina +3.51

9. Darwin Atapuma +3.57

10. Domenico Pozzovivo +4.03


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