Tour de San Luis (et. 3)
Spaniard takes 2nd behind Nizzolo (TFR) in Juana Koslay after great position work, claims again in San Luis for better luck after difficult 2013 season
The same street which saw him claiming the best result of his 2013 season, the curved finish of Juana Koslay in the 8th Tour de San Luis, came close to becoming Fran Ventoso and Movistar Team’s first celebration of 2014. After Nairo Quintana’s third spot on Tuesday at the Mirador del Potrero, the Spaniard was only beaten by Giacomo Nizzolo (TFR) in a quite calm day -the longest in the Argentinian race, over 176km departing from Tilisarao-, yet turbulent at times due to wind -also including mechanicals from Quintana himself and Beñat Intxausti, both solved with no major troubles.-
Ventoso positioned himself perfectly behind the OPQS train in the closing stages, and his knowledge of the finish allowed him getting past Boonen’s (3rd) wheel and entering the final meters with chances. The second place serves as sort of a relief for the former Spanish champion and big motivation in view of Sunday’s finish, where he will have another shot at a drought-breaker, 16 months after his last success. Phil Gaimon (GRS) is still in the lead as Quintana keeps his 7th spot overall in the eve of the first of three defining stages in the South American race: the Cerro El Amago (Cat-1; 9.4km at 7.7%), stifling finale for stage four over 168km from Potrero de los Funes.
REACTION / Fran Ventoso (courtesy BiciCiclismo.com): “It was a beautiful finish for me, only it was sad that Nizzolo performed quite better than me. When Cavendish launched Boonen, I did see myself with sort of a chance – I even overtook him because I saw he was struggling, but Nizzolo came from behind, impressively stronger, and took it easily. It was a difficult sprint, with headwind into the final 5k, and it was difficult to get things right. It was also a day of intense heat which made a lot of wear and tear on all of us, though it wasn’t really that different from a break – chase – sprint story. There was some nervous moment with a couple of echelons created by Omega, though. Now there are some important days ahead – we’ve got Nairo and we have to fight as hard as we can for the overall, protecting him so he only has to open full throttle into the climbs. It’s my third time in San Luis and I’m delighted to be here. People is really hospitable and it’s a pleasure to start every season here.”