Ordinarily tasked with piloting his Quick-Step teammate Fernando Gaviria to win sprints, Max Richeze got a chance of his own in stage 4 at Vuelta a San Juan and won the day. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was second, and Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe) was third.
Unfortunately for the Quick-Step team, Gaviria crashed out of Wednesday’s stage, which opened the door for the Argentinian Richeze.
The two category 1 climbs midway through the 182.8km route did not split the bunch.
A six-man breakaway was caught after 150 kilometers of racing from San José Jachal to Villa San Agustín. Bora-Hansgrohe and Quick-Step were the primary pacesetters at the front of the bunch.
However, the run-in to the finish was not so simple.
Gaviria, winner of stage 1, was taken out in a crash with 50km to go, leading to his abandon, along with three others. He’ll spend the night in the hospital in San Juan.
With 25 kilometers to go, the race was neutralized for a river crossing.
Finally, it came down to a sprint. Alvaro Hodeg set up his teammate Richeze and dropped him off with 200 meters to go to take the win.
Riders will have a chance to lick their wounds on Thursday as it is a rest day. On Friday, stage 5 finishes atop Alto Colorado after 169.5km of racing. This 2,565-meter climb is where Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) claimed the overall lead in 2017 and kept it to the end. The Dutchman is not in Argentina to defend his title this year.
Stage 4, top 10
- 1. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, in 4:31:48
- 2. Giacomo Nizzolo, TREK – SEGAFREDO, s.t.
- 3. Matteo Pelucchi, BORA – HANSGROHE, s.t.
- 4. Mihkel RÄim, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, s.t.
- 5. Niccolo Bonifazio, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, s.t.
- 6. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, s.t.
- 7. Jens Keukeleire, LOTTO SOUDAL, s.t.
- 8. Mauro Abel Richeze, ASOCIACION CIVIL AGRUPACION VIRGEN DE FATIMA, s.t.
- 9. Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, s.t.
- 10. Travis Mccabe, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t.
- 1. Filippo Ganna, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, in 11:30:25
- 2. Rafal Majka, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :05
- 3. Oscar Miguel Sevilla Rivera, MEDELLIN, at :11
- 4. Omar Alberto Mendoza Cardona, MEDELLIN, at :19
- 5. Jhonnatan Narvaez, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :43
- 6. Kanstantsin Suitsou, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at s.t.
- 7. Mattia Cattaneo, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI – SIDERMEC, at :45
- 8. Tiesj Benoot, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :50
- 9. Rémi Cavagna, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :50
- 10. Rodolfo Andres Torres Agudelo, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI – SIDERMEC, at :52