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“I don’t think I’m at the level of the stars yet, I need to have won the same things that they have. Sagan is a World Champion, Cavendish was also one and he has won Milan-San Remo, multiple stages of the Tour de France.&q...

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AG2R LA MONDIALE

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ADRIANO MALORI

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ALEXIS VUILLERMOZ

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BORIS VALLÉE

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CHRIS ANKER SØRENSEN

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EF EDUCATION FIRST

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EDUARDO SEPULVEDA

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ELIA VIVIANI

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EROS CAPECCHI

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FERNANDO GAVIRIA

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FRANCISCO VENTOSO

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JULIEN LOUBET

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MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ

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NAIRO QUINTANA

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PETER SAGAN

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PHILLIP GAIMON

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ROBERTO FERRARI

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TOUR DE SAN LUIS

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20.01.2016 @ 15:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Twelve months after his big breakthrough, Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) returned to the scene of his first major road victory in winning fashion as he was in a class of his own in the bunch sprint in Villa Mercedes on the second stage of the Tour de San Luis. After a dramatic finale that saw he break being caught less than one kilometre from the finish, he was given the perfect lead-out by overall leader Maximilano Richeze and easily held off Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Elia Viviani (Italy) to claim both the stage win and the leader’s jersey.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Gaviria: I am not a star yet

One day after helping the squad finish first in the team time trial, the 21-year-old Colombian sprinted to victory in stage 2 of the Tour de San Luis

Hot temperatures, a mainly flat course and Maximiliano Richeze in the leader’s jersey: these were the coordinates at the start of the second day in Tour de San Luis, 181.9 kilometers between San Luis and Villa Mercedes. Six riders decided to go into the break – Juan I.Curuchet, Ariel Sivori, Emiliano Ibarra, Israel Nuño, Genki Yamamoto and Caio Godoy – and put almost immediately five minutes between them and the peloton. From that group, Sivori took the maximum points on the day’s sole categorized climb, while Curuchet came on top at both intermediate sprints.

With 50 kilometers to go, Rodrigo Contreras – who was wearing the jersey that rewards the best young cyclist of the event – was involved in a crash, but fortunately he returned in the peloton and didn’t concede any time. Then, in the last 20 kilometers, Yamamoto, Sivori and Godoy broke clear of their breakaway companions and at one point enjoyed a 5-minute lead, which made them dream of taking the victory. But the Etixx – Quick-Step riders did a great job in that final part of the stage, pulled hard and caught the remnants of the escape inside the last kilometer. Guided by none other than Maximiliano Richeze, the green jersey wearer, Fernando Gaviria timed his sprint to perfection and scored his first victory of the season, ahead of world champion Peter Sagan and Elia Viviani.

Thanks to this win and the bonus seconds he got on the line, the young Colombian now leads the general classification (the podium being rounded out by teammates Richeze and Contreras) and the U23 rankings. This was the 21-year-old cyclist’s third victory in the race, following the two he got at last year’s edition, one of which came in Villa Mercedes, today’s arrival city.

“I’m very happy! The team worked in the beginning of the stage hoping other teams will come along, but as it didn’t happen we didn’t do it anymore, especially as it was very hot out there. After we stopped pulling, other teams came to the forefront, and in the last 20 kilometers, even though the gap was still big, Davide Bramati asked us to work hard, which we did.

 

“To me is something magical to win again in Villa Mercedes, one year after that victory which helped me get a World Tour contract. This victory is for my family and for the team, which has been by my side since joining it. It’s a huge joy knowing I can ride and win against riders like Sagan and Viviani. This is why I train every day and give 100% all the time”, said Fernando Gaviria, who scored the team’s second success in as many days.

 

"The team had the responsibility of the race. We decided to leave room to the escape so the others gave us a hand. Then Sabatini and Richeze did the perfect lead-out. We were very fast and I went at the right time. I just had to finish it off and it went well.

 

"In the coming days we will work to win other stages and to try to win the Tour de San Luis with my teammates."

 

“I don’t think I’m at the level of the stars yet, I need to have won the same things that they have,” he added. “Sagan is a World Champion, Cavendish was also one and he has won Milan-San Remo, multiple stages of the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. I’m missing more victories, I want to take as many victories as I can, to do my utmost and I always want to win.

 

“I think that both their characteristics are similar to mine. I’m a sprinter, I’m fast and my objective is to win. I also want to be in good shape to try and take victories so I think that are characteristics are very much the same.”

 

“I don’t like thinking about the future. I prefer to live right now and to enjoy the moment. In the future, Villa Mercedes is maybe seen as the city that made me a professional. After the first time, when I was able to beat Cavendish, the professional teams were interested in me.”


For Davide Bramati, Etixx – Quick-Step’s sport director, today’s stage resembled to a game of chess:

 

““It was a tough day. The first long stage of the year, we had 40 degrees, just six guys to control things, and all these made up for a very complicated day. In the end, the riders were really great, they pulled hard, and we delivered the victory and managed to keep the leader’s jersey within the team. We now look forward to the rest of the week with a great morale.”

Stage 3 of the Tour de San Luis will take place Wednesday, between Potrero de los Funes and La Punta (131 km) and will include three categorized climbs before a final downhill and a short flat section towards the end.

 

Sagan: Gaviria had three more gears

Tinkoff’s World Champion Peter Sagan finished second in the bunch sprint, close behind Fernando Gaviria, after the early breakaway got caught within a kilometer from the finish. For a second consecutive day, the intense heat marked the Argentinean race.

 

The relatively flat course of the longest stage of the Argentinean tour, 181.9 km from San Luis to Villa Mercedes, saw a breakaway form quickly. The group of six riders that escaped was able to build an advantage of more than 5 minutes but was ultimately brought back within one kilometer from the finish, thanks to the effort of the sprinter teams. The race was decided in the final hundred meters when Fernando Gaviria grabbed the win, ahead of Peter Sagan.

 

"Today was another hot day", commented Tinkoff's sport director Patxi Vila, "and to race during four hours under a scorching sun definitely made the stage very difficult. Given these weather conditions we didn't work that hard during the stage because we couldn't know how much effort we could ask from the team."

 

"However, the guys were good and did well to be always in the top positions, even though at one point we even thought the breakaway could succeed. Towards the end, though, when we realized that the group could go and get them, we also gave a hand, and in the end we got a good result with Peter since he played it against a pure sprinter", concluded Vila.

 

Peter Sagan commented on the day, "Cool! It was very hot today, in the end I never lost Gaviria's wheel. But today he had three more gears and eventually he won by three bike lengths."

 

After two stages Sagan, sits tenth overall, trailing the leader by 27 seconds. Rafal Majka, Pawel Poljanski and Maciej Bodnar are six seconds further behind, holding respectively 16th, 17th and 18th places.

For the third stage, the parcours can grant more surprises.

 

"Tomorrow's stage", concludes Vila, "will feature a climb at about 11 km from the finish. It's not hard but it's still a climb, so we might see a group of about fifty riders at the finish line."

 

Viviani: Hopefullt, Gaviria slows down in Rio

Riding for the Italian national team, Elia Viviani finished third.

 

"Gaviria is really hard to be. Hopefully, he is going strong now and then slows down, especially in Rio,” he told Tuttobiciweb. “We did a good job to keep me in front with the Italian team and then Richeze confirmed that he is one of the best lead-out men in the world. He showed it at Lampre and now he repeats it at Etixx. I was perhaps a bit too far back. I was on the wheel of Sagan but when Peter started his effort, Gaviria some metres and I was no longer able to move up."

 

Oh so close for Japanese talent

Nippo-Vini Fantini were protagonists in the second stage of the Tour de San Luis. Genki Yamamoto was in the escape of the day and with great determination was the last to give up only 300 meters from the finish. In the final sprint, Eduard Grosu finished fourth behind the three leading specialists, Gaviria, Sagan and Viviani.


The 2016 season started with a great performance from the whole team, symbolized by the determination of the Japanese rider Genki Yamamoto . Having joined the escape of the day with five other riders, he remained in front with Godoy and Sivori, trying to resist until the finish line. Genki Yamamoto showed great great grit and determination and was the last to give up only 300 meters from the finish.


The strategy was to bring sprinter Eduard Grosu on the wheels of the best to fight for the victory in the sprint when Yamamoto was caught. In the final sprint, he was on the wheel of the winner, Gaviria (Etixx - Quick Step), and fought for the podium with world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Elia Viviani, finishing in fourth place.

 

Sports director Stefano Giuliani commented on the performance: "It was the first road stage of the year after the team time trial and I immediately saw the signs that I hoped for. Genki Yamamoto in particular gave a strong signal to the entire team, showing grit and determination with every ounce of energy up to 300 meters from the finish. This attitude has to be the symbol and sign of the season for us. Only with this hunger and this attitude will we get better results and take away great satisfaction and it is no coincidence that it comes from one of our Japanese riders who is always an example of commitment and dedication to work. Yamamoto believed in it until the end. The whole team was good at staying focused, bringing Eduard Grosu to the wheels of the best. At the started, Eduard had a slight fever, but at the finish he challenged the absolute champions, fighting on par with Gaviria, Sagan and Viviani.”

 

Pierpaolo De Negri crashed, fortunately without consequences.

 

Cimolai goes down

Lampre-Merida had to settle for 11th in the sprint with Roberto Ferrari. Lead-out man Davide Cimolai was unable to contribute to the sprint as he was involved in an earlier crash. Luckily, he didn’t suffer any major injuries.

 

Vuillermoz: The sensations are not great

Alexis Vuillermoz tried to mix it up in the sprint and rolled across the line in 12th.

 

“The sensations are not great in this heat,” he wrote on Facebook. “I hope it will get better in the mountains. My 12th place was all about staying safe in the sprint but unfortunately it does not reflect my form. I have to thank the team that protected me well and allowed me to avoid crashes and splits.”

 

Puncture takes Martinez out of contention

Delko Marseille had two sprinters for the stage. However, Yannick Martinez was taken out of contention by a late puncture so it was left to Duque to do the sprint. The Colombian finished 15th.

 

Gaimon expects to start third stage despite bad crash

Cannondale’s Phil Gaimon crashed in the second stage. Here's the latest from team physician Dr. Kevin Sprouse: "Phil is bandaged and doing well, all things considered. He should be fine to start tomorrow. We’ll have to see how he manages with injured hands, in particular. He’s in good spirits and optimistic though."

 

Fortuneo-Vital Concept stay attentive in the crosswind

Fortuneo Vital Concept rode attentively and made sure than Eduardo Sepulveda, Vegard Breen, Chris Anker Sørensen and Julien Loubet all made the split when echelons were briefly formed with 65km to go. Unfortunately, their sprinter Boris Vallee was set back by a crash and could only manage 19th in the sprint.

 

Quintana stays safe on hot day

Just like in 2015, Colombian Fernando Gaviria (EQS) took a convincing victory in the first mass sprint of the Tour de San Luis. The longest ride in the Argentinian stage race - 181.9km between the region's capital and Villa Mercedes - was completed under intense heat, some gusty winds and occassional crashes in  the first part of the course which the Movistar team directed by José Luis Jaimerena, always near the front of the peloton, stayed away from. A six-man escape, whose final survivor was Japan's Genki Yamamoto (NIP), was close to break dominance of the bunch, getting caught with just 800m left.

 

"It seemed like the right thing to do today: taking care of our leader," explained Fran Ventoso. "It was a hard day for a number of reasons: the heat, the pace, the nerves in  the bunch, the crosswinds - they all kept us alert, we really needed to keep Nairo under protection. We shared the duties today: Adriano (Malori) and I were mainly in charge of covering Nairo so he didn't had to ride in the wind, while Marc (Soler) went back and forth bringing water all stage." 

 

The Catalan was happy that "we could catch the break and stay fully on track for the GC fight. We suffered with the crosswinds, but it was all the same for everyone - the important thing is that we crossed the finish line without any troubles."

 

With all six Movistar Team riders in the bunch and the winner's 10-second bonus taken into account, the Blues’ four climbers (Moreno, Soler and the Quintana brothers) plus Adriano Malori remain in the GC's top-ten, 18" adrift. A nice chance for them to reach the lead will come on Wednesday in the first mountain stage: the Mirador del Potrero awaits just 11km from La Punta's finish.

 

"Hot weather made it hard, but also the fact that they (Etixx) stopped pulling - getting back to the break was a hard task," explained the younger of the Quintana brothers. "The team staff really helped us with freezing water so we could put some ice down our back and feel refreshed - the whole team did a great job." 

 

As explains Malori, "when you've got to spend the opening 130km under such heat (temperatures exceeding 40ºC), you always end up struggling." 

 

Yet discipline remains the same: "When our leader stops," warns Ventoso, "even for a pee, we all must remain with him, never leave him alone - the pace can pick up at any time."

 

Lopez hits the deck

"It is a step closer to the harder stages,” said Eros Capecchi at the end of the second stage of the Tour de San Luis. “We were together all day and we finished with the main group.”

 

"The boys have recovered well from the effort of yesterday’s team time trial,” said Astana sports director Paolo Slongo, “and so we are confident for the rest of the race.”

 

Miguel Angel Lopez crashed and hit his left knee. In the next hours, his medical situation will be evaluated.

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