Fernando Gaviria (Colombia) scored his second win in three days at the Tour de San Luis. The 20-year-old from Colombia blasted free in the final 500 meters of racing, winning a field sprint at the end of the 176.3km stage from Concarán to Juana Koslay, Argentina on Wednesday.
An early breakaway move was established by Lucas Lopardo (San Juan), Ismael Laguna (Argentina), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), and Guido Palma (Buenos Aires). They were soon joined by one more rider, José Rodríguez (Chile).
The escape’s advantage grew to a maximum of 3:30 before steadily falling. The six were caught with 23 kilometers to go.
Heading into Juana Koslay, Lampre-Merida, Movistar, and Etixx-Quick-Step jostled for position at the front of the bunch. The final three kilometers offered a gradual uphill — 180 feet of climbing before the line.
Entering the final kilometer, the Etixx-Quick-Step leadout cued up Mark Cavendish on the right side of the road. However, the move was quickly swamped by the charging field on the other side. From it, Colombia’s Gaviria emerged to claim the stage win.
Behind him, Cavendish finished second, gesticulating wildly. It appeared that his finish line histrionics might have been provoked by a weak leadout, which left him too far from the front when Gaviria jumped. He rolled across the line at least one bike-length behind. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) was third.
“The team rode incredible again all day,” Cavendish said in a post-race press release from Etixx. “But the Colombians went super, super fast the last few hundred meters. I think we just hesitated a bit and that’s a shame because it was the exact opposite of what we did the first stage when I let the team down that day. I had too much ground to make up today, which is too bad because the team really did ride great today going into the finish.
“This is also [Fabio] Sabatini’s first race as the final leadout man, so the first race of the season is an important time for all of us to get this right and I’m confident we will.”
Daniel Diaz (Funvic) kept the overall race lead, which he claimed on Tuesday’s summit finish.
On Thursday, the tour rides from Villa Dolores to Alto El Amago, a 142.5km stage that finishes with a 3,000-foot climb with an average gradient of 7.2 percent in the final three kilometers.