Quintana Wins Tour de San Luis 2014; Modolo Victorious in Final Stage
Nairo Quintana has won the Tour de San Luis 2014 for Team Movistar. The Colombian rider was the strongest man in his first appearance in the one week stage race in Argentina.
Lampre-Merida's Sacha Modolo took the victory in the sprint to the finish line of stage 7 in Terrazas del Portezuelo.
Quintana completed the race in 24:48:48. His time was just 43 seconds better than runner up Phillip Gaimon of Team Garmin-Sharp-Castelli who surprised many cycling fans with his strong and dominant performance in the beginning of this year's edition of the race. Sergio Godoy (Team San Luis Somos Todos) secured the right to be celebrated on the remaining spot on the podium by finishing 02:02 behind the race winner.
The group of breakaway hopefuls was dominated by riders from teams who had not secured stage victories in the race so far. Specifically, the riders seeking luck were Carlos Betancur (Team Ag2R), Cleberson Weber (Dataro-Bottecchia), Pablo Alarcon (Select Chile), Juan Pablo Valencia (Team Colombia) and Carlos Ochoa (Androni Giocatoli).
As the sprinters in the peloton were focusing on taking the stage victory, the breakaway group was allowed to build a decent lead at the expense of the opportunities offered by the intermediate sprints. Led by the sprint teams, the main peloton reeled in the front group with 20 kilometers to go and from there on the sprint teams prepared the sprint for their aces.
Modolo beat Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) in the sprint across the finish line after 148 kilometers of riding in warm and sunny conditions. Modolo's teammate Maximiliano Ariel Richeze finished third.
"It's an important win when it comes to motivation for the rest of the year," Quintana told RoadCycling.com after being celebrated on the podium. "I didn't do any specific training for the beginning of the season, though we had expected to start a bit stronger than last year. I had no major problems during my preparations and I felt really well throughout the race."
"I had a bad day in the opening part of the race with pain in my stomach, but fortunately I could finish the stage and I recovered from it afterwards. I must thank everyone at the team, because they believed in me from the very first day and protected me all the way to the end of the race. That's crucial, because though you feel strong, you end up paying your efforts if you have don't have strong team mates."
"My calendar is still to be decided. It will pretty much depend on if we ride the Giro d'Italia or the Tour de France."
Along with the riders who competed in Australia in the Tour Down Under last week, most of the riders at Tour de San Luis will now return to Europe to continue their preparations for the start of the Europe-based part of the 2014 season. However, their work will be inhibited by Madame Winter who has finally brought her freezing chilliness to the roads of Europe.
"For the time being, I'm only thinking about getting back to Spain for the season launch with my team mates and after that flying to Colombia to witness the birth of my daughter, Mariana, which is due in the first days of February."