Tour de San Luis race leader Daniel Diaz (Funvic) tightened his grasp on the overall lead in stage 4 on Thursday.
The Argentine national champion won the stage from Villa Dolores to Cerro el Amago, and extended his lead over GC rivals, notably Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who could not follow Diaz’s winning move on the final climb.
Four riders got away early in the 142.5-kilometer stage and at one point had a gap of 6:50 over the field. Dario Díaz (San Juan), Juan Arango (Colombia), Juan Valencia (Team Colombia), and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) were the day’s instigators.
As the escape approached the base of the Cerro el Amago climb, Movistar came to the front of the peloton, and the gap was down to around four minutes. Soon, Díaz was dropped.
With 11 kilometers to go, the gap was down to three minutes.
The summit finish was a 2,400-foot, 10.5km climb with a maximum gradient of 11.5 percent, and a seven percent average gradient.
On the slopes of the Cerro el Amago, Arango gave his breakaway companions the slip. Behind, Quintana and Diaz attacked the peloton. They were soon joined by Eduardo Sepúlveda (Bretagne- Séché).
Then, on the climb’s final pitches, Diaz attacked again, riding away from Quintana and catching Arango.
At the crest of the climb, the road flattened out and rolled to the finish. Diaz, the 2013 Tour de San Luis champion, put his head down, grasping the drops and drove all the way home to extend his lead in the overall classification.
Behind, Sepúlveda had been dropped, and Quintana sprinted home, along with Alex Diniz (Funvic) and Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia). Diniz stopped the clock in second, 52 seconds back, and Torres was third, losing 54 seconds to Diaz.
Diaz now leads Torres by one minute overall. Diniz is third on GC, 1:19 behind. Diaz also won stage 2 on Tuesday.
Friday’s stage will be a 17.4km time trial around San Luis, Argentina.