Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Colombian affair.

Kingtana doin' work. Photo credit: James Startt
This photo shows the real story of todays final climbing stage in this years Tour de San Luis in Argentina. The pace up the Mirador Del Sol was set by race leader Nairo Quintana. He had to do the work because of an attack by the diminutive Italian Domenico Pozzovivo shown behind him to the right in the photo above. The AG2R rider was one of the only true dangers to Quintana's bid for the top step of the podium and when he attacked, the Colombian - who had no teammates left in the lead group - was forced to forgo any thoughts of a stage win to insure that he consolidated his overall chances. This left the door wide open for his young countryman Julian Arrendondo to play it smart and ride Nairo's wheel until the very end when he sprinted around to finish a slim 1 second ahead of Argentinian Sergio Godoy and 4 more ahead of Quintana who rolled across third on the stage, but improved his overall lead over Garmin's Phil Gaimon to 35 seconds. 

The next Nairo? Julian Arredondo is turning heads in Argentina - Photo credit: Tour de San Luis
Not to discount what Arredondo accomplished today. In his first stage race in his maiden season as a full time world tour rider for the Trek factory team he has won 2 of the 6 stages thus far. Adding to the impressiveness is the fact that he has done it on two of the hardest climbing stages against some of the best pure climbers in the business. He has also shown an intelligence and tactical thought process that belies his young age of only 25 years. He was patient on stage 2's final climb up the Mirador del Potrero de los Funes. Allowing Phil Gaimon to do the lions share of the work in hopes of picking up the GC lead (which he did) and then out-sprinting him at the line for the win. He took a similar position  today and the results were the same with the young Colombian solidifying a second victory and confirming Trek's belief that he was ready to play a role for them on the World Tour stage. 

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