Colombian courageous into Cerro El Amago climb, finishes in 4th place at nearly 1' behind unstopabble Argentinian in second Tour de San Luis mountain-top finish
There was no prize for the remarkable attitude by Nairo Quintana and the Movistar Team in the place started the Cóndor of Boyacá’s legend in 2014. The telephone squad’s leader had to stay content with 4th place atop the Cerro El Amago, the end of the 142km stage four in the Tour de San Luis starting at Villa Dolores, after big pursuit work by the José Luis Jaimerena-led group in the approach to the ascent and a strong attack by the Colombian with 3km into the hill, which only race leader Dani Díaz (FUN) was initially able to respond.
Joined in his move by Torres (COL) and Diniz (FUN), with Sepúlveda (BSE) just behind, the later counterattacks by Díaz halfway through the climb eventually opened a gap, which the Blues’ GC leader tried to combat on his own pace, solo, with neither success nor collaboration. Overtaken by his group companions in the flat leading up to the finish, Nairo crossed the line 56” behind Díaz, sitting now 1’23” back in the GC with two key stages still to go: the Filo Sierras Comechingones ascent (Saturday) and Friday’s 17km ITT in San Luis, which Adriano Malori won in 2014.
“I felt myself pretty much in the same condition over these slopes as in last year’s climb,” explained Quintana to Italian website Tuttobici after the stage. “I’m calm and confident because I knew the path towards the Tour de France is really long; this race is a starting point to gain form and confidence. The climb was really hard, something we knew from 2014; the pace was high and there were attacks coming from everywhere. The rivals I’m facing this week are in pretty good form considering what you’d expect at this point of the season, and that’s why today’s result doesn’t worry me much. We just thing about getting prepared for the big races and that’s the work we’re doing here; it will be the same tomorrow at the ITT.”