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After a big crash had prompted the peloton to call off their chase, Tivani beat defending champion Diaz and Ibarra in a 3-rider sprint on stage 5 of the Tour de San Luis; Sepulveda defended the overall lead

Photo: Sirotti

DANIEL RICARDO DÍAZ

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EDUARDO SEPULVEDA

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TOUR DE SAN LUIS

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22.01.2016 @ 22:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

German Tivani (Argentina) became a hugely surprising winner of the fifth stage of the Tour de San Luis when he beat compatriots Daniel Diaz (Delko Marseile) and Emiliano Ibarra (San Juan) in a 3-rider sprint. The peloton called off the chase after a big crash had split the field and this allowed the trio of local riders to stay clear while Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) defended the lead on the eve of the queen stage.

 

At the start of the Tour de San Luis, big-name sprinters Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Elia Viviani (Italy) and Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) were hoping to get four opportunities to sprint for the win. Gaviria won the opening battle on the second stage but already there it was evident that things were not that straightforward.

 

The small six-rider teams had a hard time organizing the chase and the final escapees Genki Yamamoto (Nippo-Vini Fantini) was only caught inside the final kilometre. One day later their efforts failed as Peter Koning (Drapac) stayed away and left Gaviria with second place.

 

After one day in the mountains, the sprinters were hoping to get their second chance in today’s fifth stage but again they missed out. Instead, it was local rider German Tivani who emerged as a hugely surprising winner.

 

This time, however, the failure was not caused by a lack of organization. Instead, it was a big crash with 25km to go that ended the race for Adriano Malori (Movistar) and involved lots of riders. At that point, the peloton had the situation under control but they decided to slow down, allowing the front trio to stay away.

 

Tivani had joined forces with defending champion Daniel Diaz who was determined to bounce back after a below-par showing, Emilano Ibarra and Ramiro Cabrera (Uruguay) in the early part of the race and they had an advantage of 3.30 with 40km to go. At that point, Tinkoff had been leading the chase as they didn’t make any inroads, Etixx-QuickStep, Astana and Movistar took over with 35km to go. Moments later, Tivani beat Ibarra and Diaz in the final intermediate sprint.

 

Astana and Movistar were mainly there to keep their GC riders in a good position so when things calmed down, it was left to Etixx-QuickStep to ride on the front. The gap was 2.50 with 30km to go and they seemed to have the situation under control when a big crash split the field. As a consequence, the peloton slowed down to wait for the riders that were involved in the incident. Movistar had Nairo Quintana, Marc Soler, Daniel Moreno and Adriano Malori hit the deck and the latter was transported away from the scene in an ambulance.

 

Meanwhile, the break accelerated and with 25km to go, Cabrera fell off the pace, leaving just Diaz, Tivani and Ibarra to press on. They benefited maximally from the slower pace in the bunch and as they entered the final 15km, they had extended their advantage to four minutes.

 

In the peloton, the sprint teams seemed to have given up and it was Movistar riding on the front to keep the Quintana brothers protected. Italy came to the fore in the final part of the stage in a final desperate attempt to bring the break back but they did not get any help.

 

The battle for the stage win started when Diaz made the first move but Tivani responded quickly and the trio stayed together. The defending champion tried again with three kilometres to go and this time he got a gap. However, Tivani and Ibarra made it back just as they passed the flamme rouge and it was evident that the stage would be decided in a sprint.

 

Tivani is known for his speed but Diaz tried to surprise him by launching an early sprint. However, the rider from the national team responded quickly and easily passed the defending champion to claim the biggest win of his career.

 

Late in the stage, three riders had attacked from the peloton. Genki Yamamoto (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Juan Carlos Rojas (Costa Rica) were both in the move and they entered the finishing straight with a small advantage. However, they were caught by the peloton when the sprint was launched and it was Elia Viviani (Italy) who won the battle for fourth by holding off Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Jamis).

 

Race leader Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) finished safely in the bunch and so defended his small 3-second advantage over Dayer Quintana (Movistar). He faces a much bigger test in tomorrow’s penultimate stage which is likely to decide the race. A completely flat run leads to the brutal finale where an early category 3 leads to the bottom of the final climb to Filo Sierras Comechingones – the highest point in the area at 2140m above sea level – and this is where the climbers will fight for the overall victory before the flat final stage.

 

A flat stage

After yesterday’s big mountain stage, the sprinters were expected to be back in action on stage 5 which brought the riders over 168.7km from Renca to Juana Koslay. There were no categorized climbs in the mostly flat terrain but the final 5km were all slightly uphill, meaning that it was a stage suited to puncheurs and powerful fast finishers.

 

The brutal Argentinean heat was again a factor when the riders gathered for the start and it was the usual aggressive opening part of the stage. Lots of riders tried to get clear until a five-rider break was finally formed.

 

Four riders get clear

Defending champion Daniel Diaz (Delko Marseille) who is no longer in GC contention was part of the move and was joined by German Tivani (Argentina), Emilano Ibarra (San Juan) and Ramiro Cabrera (Uruguay). AS no one showed any interest in initiating a chase, the quartet had built an advantage of five minutes after 60km of racing.

 

The chase gets organized

Tivani beat Ibarra and Diaz in the first intermediate sprint while the chase started to get organized. Franck Bonnamour (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-QuickStep) and Edward Ravasi (Italy) took turns on the front and they had brought the gap down to 4.30 when they entered the final 90km.

 

The gap had gone out to 4.40 ten kilometres later but the peloton seemed to have everything under control. When they entered the final 65km, the escapees were 4 minutes ahead and it was still 3.30 as they passed the 55km to go mark.

 

Tinkoff had now taken control of the peloton and were keeping the gap at 3.30 as they got to the final 40km. Moments later, Etixx-QuickStep took over as they prepared to set up Gaviria but the big crash dramatically changed the expected outcome.

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