Pictures by Pablo Cersosimo
Fernando Gaviria (Colombian National Team) won Tour de San Luis stage 1 and took the first leader's jersey after an amazing finish in Villa Mercedes. Second place went to Mark Cavendish (Etixx - Quick-Step) with Sacha Modolo (Lampre) third.
In spite of his lack of experience (he is only 20) Gaviria managed to beat two of the greatest sprinters in the peloton, as Mark Cavendish and Sasha Modolo. “I thought that it was impossible to beat them. They are so strong, the race was so tough, but finally I was lucky,” explained Gaviria. Two-time junior world champion on the track Gaviria won men’s omnium at Track World Cup in London five weeks ago. In addition, he won the gold medal at the Pan American and Bolivarian Games some time ago.
Current world champion Michal Kwiatkowski helped his teammate Cavendish to take a good position to face the final sprint in Villa Mercedes. Lampre riders did the same with Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo. But, when everybody expected a victory of Cavendish or Modolo, Colombian Gaviria appeared. It was a dream come true for the young rider.
The bad weather scared the peloton (composed out of 26 teams) at the start. But the sun returned to San Luis just in time and the riders struggled from the first kilometer on. The break of the day formed with Argentinian riders Leandro Messineo (San Luis Somos Todos) and Ignacio Pérez (Team San Juan) and North American David Williams (Jamis Hagens-Berman) took 4 minutes.
The peloton started to work with the Etixx –Quick Step riders on the front. Messineo won the two intermediate sprints and he dreamed with the victory in Villa Mercedes. But they were finally caught thanks to the performance of Cavendish’s bodyguards. The Belgian team controlled the race during the last kilometers of the stage. It was not enough. Gaviria wanted to take part in the Tour de San Luis opening party.
Tour de San Luis stage 2 (tomorrow at 13:58 local time) from La Punta to Mirador del Potrero (185,3 km) will be an interesting test for the favourites. The 4,8 kilometer final climb at Mirador del Potrero has an average gradient of 6,7%. The stage is expected to finish at 18:35 (local time) based on an average speed of 40km/h. Jorge Giacinti (2007), Carlos Ochoa (2008), Lucas Sebastián Haedo (2009), Rafa Valls (2010), José Serpa (2011), Alberto Contador (2012) –the UCI disqualified him later and finally Leipheimer was the winner- Alex Diniz (2013) and Julián Arredondo (2014) won at the Mirador del Potrero.