(19-01-2016 / · Prensa / Press Tour de San Luis) The Belgian team claim victory ahead of the Movistar Team and Astana. · “I will work for Gaviria from tomorrow on,” says the Etixx rider

Etixx QuickStep won the 21km opening team time trial at the 2016 Tour de San Luis. The Belgian team set a time of 23:53.40. Movistar was second at 8 seconds. Astana took third place in the TTT at 17 seconds.

The team directed by Davide Bramati carried out an amazing performance from the start on. They set the best time at the intermediate time check (11:25), one second ahead of Astana and 8 seconds ahead of the Movistar Team. The Belgians -which have been TTT world champions twice- were able to keep their gap over the Spanish team during the second part of the TTT and increase their advantage on Astana.

Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx QuickStep) took the first leader’s jersey. “I would like to thank my teammates because they have let me come over the line in first position,” said a man who was able to claim two stage victories at the 2007 Giro d’Italia. The following year, the Argentinian won the stage which finished in Merlo at the 2008 Tour de San Luis.

Eight years later, Richeze takes the first green’s leader jersey of the 10th edition of Latin America’s greatest cycling race. “I feel really honour for becoming the race leader in my country,” underlined the Argentinian during the official press conference held after the team time trial. However, he will help Colombian sprinter Gaviria to fight for the stage victories: “I will work for Fernando from tomorrow on.” Gaviria could take the leader’s jersey tomorrow depending on the time bonuses. 

Colombian Rodrigo Contreras, who finished second overall last year, has an advantage of 8 seconds on Nairo Quintana (Movistar), 17 on Nibali and Miguel Ángel López (Astana); 23 on Sagan and Majka (Tinkoff), 56 on Peraud and Vuillermoz (Ag2r); 58 on Dani Díaz (Delko-Marseille) and 59 on Rodolfo Torres (Androni).

Tomorrow’s stage

Tour de San Luis stage 2 (tomorrow at 13:43 local time) from San Luis to Villa Mercedes (181,9 km) is the first opportunity for the sprinters at the 2016 Tour de San Luis. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quick Step) will try to win in the same place where he beat Mark Cavendish for the first time last year. However, the young Colombian rider will face world-class rivals such as Italian Elia Viviani and world champion Peter Sagan, who wants to claim his first stage victory in the Argentinian race after having finished second twice (behind Gavazzi in 2013 and behind Modolo in 2014).

Time bonuses of three, two and one second will be on offer at the two intermediate sprints and ten, six and four seconds will be awarded at the finish line. Stage 2 is expected to finish at 18:15 (local time) based on an average speed of 40km/h.

Josu Garai, Andrea Agostini, Andrés García-Armero


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