Etixx-QuickStep claimed the opening team time trial of this year’s Tour de San Luis in Argentina today, earning Maximiliano Richeze the overall leader’s jersey.
The Belgian WorldTour team put in a well coordinated effort, cruising ahead of second-placed Movistar and Nairo Quintana by eight seconds, while Astana and Vincenzo Nibali drove home the third fastest time at 17 seconds back.
“Today was, let’s say, ‘a gift’ that the team gave me, allowing me to be first on the finish line, because this is my country,” Richeze said.
Earlier, the UnitedHealthcare team set the fastest time of 24:47 along today’s 21-kilometer course, staying in the hot seat for an extended period of time, before their benchmark was eventually eclipsed by several teams.
Nairo Quintana said after the runner-up performance that the team had aimed to win the opening TTT, but he seemed pleased with the result, which put him ahead of all but Contreras among the potential overall contenders in San Luis.
“We are stronger in the heat, and we are hoping to continue in the same direction that we started.”
As an anecdote to today’s time-rial event, instead of riding full-on TT bikes, all of the teams opted to ride their standard road bikes with clip-on aero bars.
The Tour de San Luis continues on tomorrow, with a 182 kilometer stage from San Luis to Villa Mercedes.
The mostly flat route is predicted to end in a bunch sprint, which is sure to bring out the big name sprinters like world champion Peter Sagan, who hope to wrest the the leaders jersey from Richeze.
Team Time Trial
1 Etixx – Quick-Step 0:23:53
2 Movistar Team 0:00:08
3 Astana 0:00:18
4 Tinkoff Team 0:00:24
5 UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team 0:00:54
6 AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:56
7 Delko Marseille Provence KTM 0:00:58
8 Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec 0:00:59
10 Drapac Professional Cycling 0:01:00
11 Holowesko-Citadel 0:01:05
12 Fortuneo – Vital Concept 0:01:08
13 SEP San Juan 0:01:13
14 Costa Rica 0:01:15
15 Lampre-Merida 0:01:16
16 Strongman-Campagnolo 0:01:20
17 Jamis 0:01:22
18 San Luis Team 0:01:23
19 Italy 0:01:25
20 Nippo – Vini Fantini 0:01:30
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