With an attack on the final climb up Alto Punta Negra, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) claimed his first victory of 2019 on Monday in stage 2 of Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina. His former teammate Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) sprinted to second close behind. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took third.
“When I attacked I never imagined I would finish alone, so I must say I surprised myself with this victory,” said Alaphilippe
The stage was shortened to 132.5km due to hot temperatures.
“We had another hot stage at the Vuelta San Juan but the clouds over the finish area made it a bit easier for us,” said Sagan. “The finish was very close but Alaphilippe held on and won. My form is progressing the way it should this time of the year, so all is good and we’ll keep fighting every day.”
After starting in Chimbas, the route climbed to a circuit that went over the Punta Negra climb four times. On the final trip up to the finish atop the one-kilometer hill, Alaphilippe made his move.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) tried to bridge up to the Frenchman but could not close the gap.
Alaphilippe came home solo with the peloton breathing down his neck, sprinters in full flight.
Though Gaviria did not win his second stage in a row, he conserved his overall lead in the seven-stage race. After Monday, he was three seconds ahead of Alaphilippe. His UAE teammate Simone Consonni was fourth, seven seconds behind.
The overall standings are sure to change on Tuesday in the flat 12km time trial around Pocito.
“It’s true that I took 10 bonus seconds today, but the GC wasn’t my goal when I arrived here, as I was just thinking of getting a stage victory,” said Alaphilippe. “Of course, I will try to do a good time trial and continue to take things day by day and see where this leads at the end of the week.”