The first big test for Xavi Tondo in the 2011 Tour de San Luis was a passed exam for the climber of the Movistar Team. The Catalan rider consolidated his lead in the Argentinean course at the fifth stage, a new mountain top-finish over the slopes of the Cat-1 Mirador del Sol, 1,500 meters above sea level.
Tondo claimed the 7th position in the stage and opened his gap over Colombian José Serpa, second overall, in four seconds before tomorrow’s decisive stage to La Carolina, featuring the ascent to the Cat-1 Cerro del Amaro just 15 kilometers from the finishing line. Movistar Team did another sensational group work to control a fast race, led by a 15-rider break that eventually contested the stage victory, not worrying Tondo by any means as he went all over the climb with an impressive support by Mauricio Soler, right behind him in 8th place.
“The stage was hard, because the break was so big and we couldn’t afford letting them gain too much advantage,” explained Tondo. “The team worked exceptionally and managed to get all of us together to the foot of the last climb. It was just a matter of letting the legs work at that point, and Soler did an excellent work in the finale to complete the work by my other teammates. We’re not discovering him now, he’s one of the best climbers in the world and I hope to reward him back with my work after what he’s doing for me here. We beat everyone but Chilean Arriagada, but i’m happy because we took some seconds on the rest. It’s not going to be easy, but we have now only two riders in a minute’s distance, and there’s one day less to achieve our goal.”