Colombian takes first 2014 win for Movistar Team, climbs into 2nd overall in the Tour de San Luis after impressive teamwork plus offensive tactics from foot of Cerro El Amago
Nairo Quintana made predictions right and proved again his impressive climbing abilities to make for a brilliant opening to Movistar Team’s 2014 season. The Colombian rider offered a great exhibition through the ascent of the Cerro El Amago, the highest climb of the 8th Tour de San Luis and second mountain-top finish of the race after a 169km stage four starting at Potrero de los Funes. Always well protected by his team-mates -Ventoso, Lastras and Malori, through the opening flat, plus Amador and Intxausti, in the slopes-, who picked up the pace for his attack right at the foot of the climb, Nairo kept Sergio Godoy (SLS) on his wheel for a couple of kilometers before riding away solo, without any opposition.
Fifty seconds over the Argentinian rider, a minute and a half on Atapuma (BMC) and Moyano (SLS), almost three minutes over Tuesday’s winner atop the Potrero -countryman Julián Arredondo (TFR)-. Those were the astonishing time gaps opened by Quintana, who will roll down the starting ramp of Friday’s individual time trial in the streets of the province’s capital (19km) as the penultimate rider (17.56h local, 21.56h ESP), having climbed into 2nd overall at just four seconds of Phil Gaimon (GRS). It’s Nairo’s 16th victory as professional rider and the first in Argentina for the Blues in three years after the late Xavi Tondo, who conquered in 2011 the same ITT to be covered tomorrow.
REACTION / Nairo Quintana: “At Potrero, the race leader climbed really well, plus the ascent was shorter and less steep; the Cerro El Amago was different, because it’s a longer climb, a more demanding one and covered in wrinkled cement. That’s why I could open a bigger gap. I made my move and climbed strong. The team was crucial for my performance, they were always at my side, early with the chasing work and then into the climb, breaking the bunch into pieces. They were sensational. This victory is dedicated to them, to my wife, my parents and my baby, who is about to be born and is the most beautiful thing in my life. He was a motivation for me and made for a special day – I felt really strong. It would have been spectacular to take over the leader’s jersey, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m doing well, though I didn’t train TT’s specifically yet this year and we will be using the Canyon bike for the first time. Knowing which team he rides for, Gaimon will surely do well tomorrow. He’ll have a strong team for the remainder of the race, too – it will be a matter of waiting for our chance and taking advantage of it.”