Diaz wins Tour de San Luis, Cavendish claims stage 7

Mark Cavendish claims his first win of the season, as Diaz takes the overall in San Luis, Argentina

Etixx-Quick-Step’s Mark Cavendish claimed his first win of 2015 in a sprint finish that wrapped up the Tour de San Luis on Sunday.

“We rode a tactically smart race,” Cavendish said. “When the break went, Michal Golas went with it. But eventually the teams who didn’t have riders in the break chased it down. We didn’t have to pull earlier because he was in the break, so we were all fresh for the final.

Daniel Diaz (Funvic), who assumed the overall lead on stage 2, won the overall title, 1:05 ahead of Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia) and 1:34 ahead of defending champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who rounded out the podium in third.

The final day of racing was a 122.4km stage. It started and finished in San Luis, Argentina, comprising one short circuit, then three long circuits, from San Luis to El Durazno and back.

A large break escaped early, including Adriano Malori (Movistar), Enzo Moyano (San Luis), Ben Gastauer (Ag2r La Mondiale), Golas (Etixx-Quick-Step), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Benjamin King (Cannondale-Garmin), Marco Bandiera Androni-Giocattoli), and Mauro Finetto (Southeast).

The break had an advantage of three minutes at one point, but the peloton was set on a sprint finish. With 25 kilometers to go, their gap was a mere 34 seconds. They were soon caught in the final run-in to San Luis.

After a few miscues earlier in the week of racing, Fabio Sabatini delivered Cavendish perfectly on the right side of the final gallop. Cavendish jumped with 300 meters to go and got the better of Fernando Gaviria (Colombia) — winner of two stages at Tour de San Luis — and Jakob Mareczko (Italy), who was third.

“It’s important, not just for myself, but for the whole team, to get a good feeling started here,” Cavendish said. “This is important race experience that we will use to build for our season. You can’t replicate this kind of preparation at any kind of a training camp. You need to have other riders around you to really work on your leadout.”