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“I think at the beginning of January most of the climbs seem to be never-ending - but here they really are never-ending. This one was about 5k longer than it needed to be, and at least on the map it looked shorter.” 

Photo: Sirotti


24.01.2014 @ 20:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nairo Quintana stormed to a solo win on Thursday's big mountain stage in the Tour de San Luis and almost took over the leader's jersey from Phil Gaimon. We have already posted several reactions from the stage and have gathered a few more below.


Tanel Kangert (Astana, 55th on the stage, 64th on GC +20.39)

“I think at the beginning of January most of the climbs seem to be never-ending – but here they really are never-ending. This one was about 5k longer than it needed to be, and at least on the map it looked shorter.”


Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha, 43rd on the stage, 55th on GC +18.12)

“These days I feel very good physically, so I wanted to do a test on today’s final climb. I wanted to asses my level of condition. I realized at the end of the climb that it was too steep for me this early in the season. And the heat made it especially hard. The temperature was almost 50C for the first 4km of El Amago. Normally I like the heat, but this was just too, too hot. The landscape was really nice but there was no time to look around and enjoy it.”


Orlando Maini (sports director Lampre-Merida whose best rider was Winner Anacona in 12th)

"Today's stage was important to give us an idea of our current level. We saw encouraging signs from Anacona. The boy has got back from a year of inactivity due to a bad injury. It is a great satisfaction for him and for the team to see him back among the best climbers and there is still room for improvement.


"Regarding Cunego and Serpa, they are both working well and should continue to improve their condition as they still lack something to be fully competitive. It is normal and they will soon be at a good level."


Gianluca Brambilla (Omega Pharma-Quick Step, 9th on the stage, 36th on GC +12.19)

"I'm happy about my race. When we hit the last climb the San Luis team did a terrific rhythm. I kept calm and I held my tempo. The climb was really long and had an incredible percentage. The heat made the race even harder! But today we did the right move. Last night with Davide Bramati we decided to use the 32 gearing. It was really magic, a rabbit from the hat! I could do a good rhythm without destroying my legs. I have to thank all our staff here for the right choice.


"The first uphill stage I wasn't so good probably because of the heat. Yesterday I worked hard for the team for the sprint of Tom Boonen. But today I didn't feel the fatigue. I'm happy to be part of this group and work when it is necessary for great champions such as Mark Cavendish and Tom. Then, if I can try my cards, it's even better."

Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE, 10th on the stage, 12th on GC +3.37, best young rider)

About the flat start to the stage: "[I did] basically nothing. Santa [Ivan Santaromita], Christian and I were the three highest up on GC. They looked after us on the stage. It was pretty flat for most of the days It wasn’t really windy but every now again, it picked up – some crosswind – so they looked after us the most at those times to make sure we were comfortable."


About the increased pace for the category 3 climb:  "It’s funny. It was essentially just one big climb. Straight after the cat three, there was the littlest descent and then it went straight up again. The break was only allowed four or five minutes, not much more. Just before the bottom of the climb, they were brought back. It was really hot again today. That might have had a little impact on the early action."


About his strategy for the final climb: "I didn’t have a strategy. We’re not really targeting the overall. We’re just taking our chances as they come. We just wanted to hold on, really. There are some pretty good climbers here and some local guys going quite well. Typically on a climb like this, it’s every man for himself. We can help each other now and again, but it’s hard to do that much on this type of climb. You have to go at it at your own pace."


About how the stage compares to races in Europe: "It’s pretty similar. The biggest difference is that there are a lot of guys here that aren’t going full gas yet. They’re still holding back or not in top form. Other than that, there’s not really much of a difference."


About his assessment of his ride: "I didn’t feel great at the bottom of the climb. It felt like it rose quite sharply. After that I was going ok. Nobody could match Quintana. It was a big gap. I can’t complain. It’s January. And we didn’t come in with big ambitions. I'm happy enough with my ride. "


About his ambitions for the time trial. "Well, we don’t have time trial bikes, so I’m already down a little bit.  We brought one, but it’s Santa’s. His bike won’t fit me, so I’m on my road bike tomorrow. I can give it a crack, but I’m already at a bit of a disadvantage."


Alain Gallopin (sports director Trek whose best rider was Julian Arredondo in 8th)

“Quintana is the big favorite for the race and Movistar worked hard for him today. For us we had no big expectations; Julián is ready for the shorter climbs but not for the big climbs like today. We were never here to try to win the overall.  The focus at the beginning was to win a stage and we have won already two stages. We are happy.


“Haimar [Zubeldia] will try and do a good time trial tomorrow but we keep the power of the team for the last stage to try and win in the sprint for Giacomo [Nizzolo] again. Fabio [Silvestre] has recovered from yesterday and the team’s morale is high.”


Emanuel Hubert (sports director Bretagne whose best rider was Eduardo Sepulveda in 11th)

"The week is going well. A race like this is always beautiful. It is posive. Eduardo Sepulveda is at home and has plenty of morale. He is delighted to race here. His 11th place on GC reflects this.


"Now the goal is to make a top 5 in the time trial and aim for a top 7 overall. He is capable of that. With the level of the riders here in Argentina, it would be great.


"The whole team is working well. Clement Koretzky was in the break on Wednesday. The break on Monday succeeded, not the one on Wednesday. But Clement demonstrated that is currently in good condition by finishing 11th in the sprint. This proves that the cyclo-cross season was beneficial for him."


Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia, 6th on the stage, 8th on GC +2.18)

Speaking about his success in his first race with his new team. It’s probably because we have known each other for so long, so we are pretty used to each other, even though we have competed for different teams. Honestly speaking though, I think I have never been in such a united and close-knit team in my whole career.


I wish to thank the whole team for setting me up, in particular Edwin Avila did a real masterpiece in launching me in a chase of Nairo, but unfortunately I couldn’t catch him and slightly suffered from the effort in the final part of the climb. My condition is not top yet, so I should probably have waited a little more, but I am still in a good position overall, and looking to keep battling hard in the time trial and in Saturday’s stage.


This is just the first race of the year, and we are mostly here to tune up our preparation. I am feeling good, and that gives us a good signal, and increases our motivation to keep working all the way to the Giro d’Italia. To our supporters, I just want to say: trust us for the Giro, ‘cause we will be there with good intentions.



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