American team Jamis Hagens Berman will be one of the 26 squads that will participate in the Tour de San Luis. The manager is Sebastián Alexandre, a former Argentinian rider who took part in the first edition of the race.
Alexandre analyses the Argentinian race and its benefits for society: “Obviously, it has changed a lot. Nowadays, it is a prestigious and popular competition all over the world. The first edition was conceived for the local peloton, without tough hills. But thanks to San Luis Government support –they have improved the routes- there are now high mountain finishes which make the difference.”
The American team will face the Argentinian competition for the sixth time (a couple of them under the name Colavita) and they are very proud to be in San Luis. “We are lucky to be invited. For a Continental team like us, it is really important to ride here. Every January, the world of cycling has its eyes on the Tour de San Luis and we have an opportunity to show the world what we can do,” he says. “Janier Acevedo (riding for Garmin at present) succeeded in 2013 finishing 8th overall. Afterwards, he carried out some great performances in the North American competitions.”
The American team, particularly focusing on the mountain stages, targets a top ten finish. “We have two very good climbers, Daniel Jaramillo and Gregory Brenes. They are young talented riders, but they have not been very lucky in the past. They have suffered a lot of problems, crashes, injuries, illnesses… but I am sure that if they are fine, they could finish in the top 10.”
Both riders accept the responsibility. “I am grateful for the confidence that the team has in me. My goal is to finish on the podium,” explains Brenes. “I would like to win the Tour de San Luis. I have just said it! He who hits first hits twice.”
Jaramillo believes he can make the difference on the climbs. “My goal in San Luis is winning a stage or finishing in the top 10. I must wait for my manager’s instructions, but as far as possible I will attack in the mountains.”
Jamis Hagens Berman riders value the Argentinian race. Brenes believes that “it is a beautiful race with an excellent organisation, one of the most important races in the world.” According to Alexandre, “there is not much difference with the Tour of California nor the other events in North America, because in Argentina they have learned to work at the same level of any important Tour.”
In 2009 the American team won two stages thanks to the victories of Lucas Sebastián Haedo and Luis Amarán, two riders who will participate in the 2015 Tour de San Luis. Amarán has good memories about that day and he still dreams about repeating that victory or helping his teammates to win: “That victory was wonderful because I was able to beat the whole peloton on my own, it was something special,” he explains. “This time, I will work for Lucas Haedo -for sprints- as well as for Brenes and Jaramillo.”
“We hope to be at a good level, win a stage and place a rider in the top 10,” he explains in the same line than his teammates. Alexandre is more cautious. “We have to get the most out of every opportunity, considering the shape of our riders and the circumstances of the race,” says the manager before confirming the cyclists who will ride in San Luis: Lucas Haedo, Gregory Brenes, Daniel Jaramillo, Luis Amarán, David Williams and Stephen Leece.
Cycling stars like Quintana, Cavendish, Kwiatkowski and Voeckler will also take part in the Argentinian competition in January, but they will have a tough work facing Continental teams as Jamis Hagens Berman, whose riders are yearning to show the world what they are capable of on the road.