Tour de San Luis (st. 6)
Nairo Quintana keeps orange leader’s jersey at Tour de San Luis after 3rd place atop the Mirador del Sol -with Arredondo (TFR) taking the win-, with no changes in GC
The impressive intelligence and serenity of Nairo Quintana and the splendid implication and strategy of his Movistar team-mates are 24 hours far from the first 2014 overall win for the Blues. The leader of the squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena underwent no problems on the last big day of the 8th Tour de San Luis: the demanding Mirador del Sol climb in Merlo, which ended the longest run in this year’s Argentinian race (184km) from Las Chacras.
The support by Lastras, Amador, Ventoso, Intxausti and Malori at the front to pursuit the seven-man early breakaway, was crucial to keep Nairo calm until the foot of the doble final ascent. A 25-man group reached the Flamingo hill (Cat-3), 7k from the finish, together as Quintana responded with force and sensibility all attacks which tried to take his nerves out. After launching the elite group through the final meters to avoid any other major problems, the Colombian was beaten by Arredondo (TFR) and Godoy (SLS), 1st and 2nd respectively. Nairo clearly felt happy after crossing the finish: “I’m more than satisfied with the work by my team-mates – it was spectacular and I can only thank all of them. This overall victory, so close now, is dedicated to the five. Amador and Intxausti stayed with me until I tried to go solo with 4k remaining. I wanted to contest the stage, but some moves had to be made to control the attacks. Serpa and Pozzovivo gave it a try, plus Arredondo was really strong at the end – he deserves it.”
Nairo’s 35-second margin over American Phil Gaimon (GRS) and the strength of a powerful Movistar Team on his back should turn Sunday’s stage -148km from the capital to Terrazas del Portezuelo- into a day to enjoy and another sprint opportunity for Fran Ventoso, who will try to raise his arms at last after Wednesday’s 2nd place in Juana Koslay.