Tour de San Luis Stage 1: No Stage Win for Cavendish in Argentina


No stage win for Mark Cavendish on a flat stage in Argentina as break stays clear after escaping after only a few kilometres

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The 164km Tour de San Luis Stage 1 on Monday looked to strongly favor the sprint with its flat profile. However, the original breakaway was able to gain an insurmountable gap that reached more than 10 minutes, and the stage was eventually decided by two riders from the escape group after a long day that included some crashes.

Phillip Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) won the stage solo after approaching the final kilometers with eventual second place finisher Emiliano Contreras (Argentina). Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare Presented p/b Maxxis) was 3rd.

Tom Boonen was the designated OPQS sprinter for today’s stage, but was unable to contest due to the surprise success of the escape group.

“The breakaway was gone after maybe two kilometers, so it was a perfect day for a field sprint,” Boonen said. “We started controlling after about 10 kilometers to keep the distance acceptable. Guillaume was riding almost by himself until about 70 kilometers in the race.”

“We had taken the chase up as our responsibility and were helping him work to bring the breakaway back. Nobody was really coming up to help us so we just said ‘stop’ and it took ages for somebody to start riding again. By then it was way too late. I think with the temperature today on top of that, it may have cost the sprint teams a sprint today. In the final I also had a flat tire in the back and I basically rode the last kilometer on a flat tyre.”

Alessandro Petacchi of OPQS was forced to abandon after suffering from a fever and stomach problems the previous night. He tried to start the race but was unable to continue racing.

“Losing Alessandro hurts,” Boonen said. “We were already at six guys so it really limits the ability to do something. If you have six strong guys you can do it, but if you lose Alessandro you have five and then you’ll have to sacrifice one or two riders during the day. So, we really don’t have much left and we can’t make any mistakes. it will be difficult to control the race for sure.”

Petacchi said he did everything he could to try and keep racing despite his illness.

“There has not been a lot of times in my career that I suffered like today,” Petacchi said. “I tried but I really couldn’t follow the bunch. I feel so sorry for my teammates. I was looking forward to this race and riding with my team. The condition was good, but again with this kind of problem there’s nothing I can do.”

Stijn Vandenbergh was involved in a crash of about 50 riders. He has minor scratches on his right leg and shoulder, but it appears to be nothing serious. Mark Cavendish was the top OPQS finisher, in 18th place (+4’35”).

OPQS looks next to a 170.6km Stage 2 on Tuesday. The stage includes a Category 1 summit finish.

Tour de San Luis Stage 1
1 Phillip Gaimon (USA) 4:06:54
2 Emiliano J. Contreras (Arg) +12″
3 Marc De Maar (AHo) +1’17”
4 Leandro Messineo (Arg) +1’26”
5 Cristian Da Rosa (Bra) +3’52”

18 Mark Cavendish +4’35”
44 Stijn Vandenbergh s.t.
62 Tom Boonen s.t.
81 Gianluca Brambilla s.t.
136 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck +5’19”



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