Julián Arredondo Sprints to Second Uphill Win in Argentina
Julián Arredondo sprinted to the stage six win ahead of race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Sergio Godoy (San Luis Somos Todos) to take his second victory of the seven-day tour, and also moved into fourth place in the overall. It was a perfect climb for the explosive Colombian climber as the last three kilometers of the Mirador del Sol were steep, upwards of 14 percent grade.
He played the finish to his strength and followed Quintana and Godoy up the climb waiting until the end to jump around them, crossing the line with enough time to raise his arms in a victory salute. Godoy finished second and Quintana was third and easily held onto his race lead.
“This is incredible, I’m so happy to be able to win again,” said an elated Julián Arredondo. “Nairo [Quitana] is a phenomenal rider and a reference for all of us Colombian riders. I have a lot of respect for him. We know each other quite well and he was setting a high pace in the last parts of the climb. The plan was that I would climb along with the front group and then try and win the sprint. It was another explosive finish, so something that suits me. I didn’t expect to be so good at this point [of the season] but today was another opportunity for a rider of my type and I’m happy that I could turn it into a win. This Tour is a good ride for Colombian cycling!”
“The team is doing really well here,” contined Arredondo. “The mix of young riders and experienced riders is perfect, it is working! A big ‘thank you’ to my team and especially to my room mate Haimar Zubeldia. He’s a great person with an enormous amount of experience. Haimar and Danilo [Hondo] bring a lot of calm to team and this is really important.”
The peloton faced its longest stage of the race at 184.4km, beginning in Las Chacras to the mountain finish on Mirador del Sol. An early break of seven riders made its move and gained no more than a fistful of minutes as Movistar set tempo on the front. It was groupo compacto leading into the finish climb and Julián played his tactics perfectly with his eye solely on the stage win.
“The plan was the same as Tuesday where we protected Julián all race,” explained sport director Alain Gallopin. “We did not have to do anything; we just had to relax until the climb. The climb was seven kilometers long but the three last were steep. The plan was for Julián to stay with Quintana – no attacking, no pulling – just play the stage win and stay on the wheel of Quintana and make the sprint.”
Eugenio Alafaci was a non-starter for stage six as he came down with an illness last night and Alain Gallopin decided to keep him back at the hotel. It is a big loss for the team as Alafaci was instrumental in helping Giacomo Nizzolo win stage three and he will be missed tomorrow for the final stage of the tour.