Vuelta a San Juan (finale)
Colombian allrounder from Movistar Team takes overall classification in Argentina – the Blues’ third since 2014 – after excellent work by his five team-mates into the fast-paced circuit showdown around San Juan’s capital.
It was the happiest end on Sunday to another fast ride –just like yesterday– on stage seven around the Avenida Circunvalación -141km and nine laps of the province capital’s biggest motorway- as Winner Anacona (Movistar Team) took overall honours in the 37th Vuelta a San Juan, following his most brilliant week since he became a pro cyclist.
The Tunja native from Boyacá, Colombia, again supported by a solid Blue squad –with Jorge Arcas, Carlos Barbero and Eduardo Sepúlveda again at the front of the bunch from the start, plus Richard Carapaz (6th overall) and Nairo Quintana (8th) as race-end guides-, completed the stage tucked into a complete peloton fighting for the sprint, with Sam Bennett (BOH) ultimately grabbing the stage victory. Anacona then stepped onto the final podium alongside Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (DQT), second overall, and Óscar Sevilla (MDE), winner of the 2018 race and now 3rd behind two WorldTour contenders. Movistar also won the team prize.
Sunday’s final jersey marks Winner’s fourth UCI win, following an amateur success at the GiroBio (2011) and stage nine of the 2014 Vuelta a España (Valdelinares) before Friday’s Alto Colorado victory. Anacona’s triumph also brings the third overall victory to the Movistar Team in Argentina, following two GC wins by the Quintana brothers in the Tour de San Luis (2014 and 2016). No other team has achieved more overall victories in the country since its races turned UCI pro events ranked 2.1 or higher -San Juan became a pro race in 2017 and San Luis, now defunct, was open to WorldTour outfits between 2009 and 2016-.
REACTION / Winner Anacona:
“We could not celebrate before the last finish line, and now that’s it’s over, I feel so happy as much as relieved I could finish it off. It’s my first stagerace victory, and I hope it won’t be the last. It’s a magnificent way to confirm all preparations we did for this season were right – and claiming a victory in 2019 was also a hidden goal for me this season. I could achieve it atop the Colorado on Friday and sealing this overall success brings me massive joy. My most important win? I think the Vuelta a España stage and this success are both important in different ways. The former was my first Grand Tour stage win, but this stagerace had very talented contenders, and everyone is ambitious at the start of the season. All in all, this is a boost of confidence for what’s to come during this season.
“Once we got to the top of the standings, we had to tackle the remainder of the race in a calm, focused way, one stage at a time. We were able to get through yesterday’s stage safely after a really hard day – it felt harder than the Colorado ascent for me. The weather was awful, winds were strong, and many teams tried to make things difficult for us, yet we were able to defend ourselves well. We thought it could be easier today, because those squads with sprinters, which were too late for the win yesterday, wouldn’t let another chance go this time. The pace was again really strong today, so I couldn’t enjoy this jersey muchbefore the finish. I’m super thankful for everything my team-mates did to protect me: Nairo, Richard, Jorge, Eduardo, Carlos. This excellent team made possible for me to win this race.
“Ever since I signed for the Movistar Team, Eusebio Unzué always made clear for me what my role was, but on the other hand, and being fully aware of what my place was here, I always kept some ambition inside for individual success. One always has dreams, and must fight for those. Even if my job is taking care of our leaders at the crucial races, I’ll always try to shine when a chance like this comes around. Achieving such a success makes me feel more valued and do my best when it’s time to work for others. This victory goes especially to my family and kids, who are always behind me – they’re the joy of my life, they make me go forward. I hope they enjoy this win as much as I do.”