The Argentinian says the UCI noticed him after he rode in the 2012 edition of the race with his national team
JUANA KOSLAY, Argentina (VN) — Eduardo Sepulveda thanks the Tour de San Luis. The Argentinean stage race allowed him a chance to train at the World Cycling Centre and to sign with French second division team Bretagne.
“Eduardo Sepulveda is coming along very well and doing things how he should be doing them,” J.J. Haedo told VeloNews. “He’s one to keep an eye on.”
Haedo raced in the U.S. for years, rode for Denmark’s CSC/Saxo Bank squad, and won two stages in the Vuelta a España. The Argentinean returned to the U.S. to ride for Jamis-Hagens Berman last year.
Cycling in Argentina is based around Buenos Aires and mostly on flat roads. It produces sprinters and riders who go well on the track. Sepulveda can also climb.
Two years ago when he was racing the Tour de San Luis with the national team, Sepulveda caught the eye of the UCI’s World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. The facility brought him to Europe, trained him, and helped him achieve better results. He placed second in the ZLM Tour and 14th in the Tour de L’Avenir.
“The centre helped me get my stagiaire spot on FDJ and a contract with Bretagne,” the 22-year-old said.
The work paid off. This winter, Sepulveda trained on the flat roads around his home in Patagonia and traveled to San Luis a week early to climb mountain roads. In Tuesday’s stage 2, he finished 10th ahead of Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and other climbers after conquering the 4.8-kilometer finishing ascent to Mirador de El Potrero.
“I was initially thinking just to race here, complete all stages to train and to be ready for Europe,” Sepulveda added. “Now, I feel good, I will try to place top 10 in the classification.”
Sepulveda will travel to France after the Tour de San Luis. He lived in Brittany but this year he will move to the Côte d’Azur. His next race is the Tour Méditerranéen.
He is only one of two professional Argentinean riders in the first or second division, the other being Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida). He said he hopes more professionals and good will come from the Tour de San Luis, now in its eighth year. The race already helped establish two continental teams, Buenos Aires and San Luis-Somos Todos.
“The level in Argentina is better year after year. I hope in two to three years we will have a good Continental Pro team based in Europe,” Sepulveda said. “We hope to have a good team in a few years, based in Europe like teams Colombia or Androni.”
Two Italian managers run teams that help South Americans; Claudio Corti runs Colombia and Gianni Savio team handles Androni Giocattoli. This, said Sepulveda, would be the next step. For now, he is thankful for the chance the Tour de San Luis gave him.