Double podium for Quick-Step Floors on Vuelta a San Juan final day
Alvaro Hodeg and Max Richeze both finished stage 7 in the top 3, whilst Rémi Cavagna kept hold of his tenth place in the GC.
Quick-Step Floors concluded another successful edition of the Vuelta a San Juan, having taken two stage victories and an additional two podiums at the week-long Argentinean race. Fernando Gaviria was the first to inscribe his name on the winners list with a convincing success on the opening day, making of San Juan the eight consecutive stage race in which he had scored at least one victory; that win was followed just three days later by the one Maximiliano Richeze, on a stage that recorded Gaviria's abandon after crashing and picking up a knee injury.
Same Richeze was involved in the last sprint of the Vuelta a San Juan, which saw also teammate Alvaro Hodeg get into the mix. The race took place Sunday afternoon on the San Juan highway, and that made for a hectic and difficult to control final, without proper sprint trains to set a fierce tempo and line out the peloton. Quick-Step Floors tried to put Hodeg in a good position so he could open his sprint in the final 200 meters, but in the end it was both the young Colombian neo-pro and Richeze who found themselves sprinting again against Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), the stage 7 winner.
Max Richeze – one of the best Argentinean riders of all time and a winner of 26 races as a pro – made an analysis of the finale before mounting the podium: "The plan today was to work for Alvaro, but the last three kilometers turned out to be very nervous and messy, and for that matter we lost him at one point. We then regrouped, but it was difficult for the lead-out to work properly in those crazy conditions out there and with that very fast sprint."
"I am very happy with how things have panned out for me this week and with my stage win, it gives me great confidence for my next race, Colombia Oro y Paz, and for the rest of the season. I'm also delighted and speechless to see how many fans have come to cheer for me, to take a picture or just exchange a few words, before and after every stage. Was a real pleasure to have all these fantastic supporters and my family by my side", the 34-year-old added in San Juan.
Rémi Cavagna – who returned here a year after making his pro debut – was another Quick-Step Floors rider in the spotlight on the final day, that was ridden at an average speed of 48.34km/h. The Frenchman was the first to attack and get a gap as soon as the flag dropped, but being well-placed in the general classification meant that the other teams chased him down, not stopping until they managed to bring him back.
Then, later in the stage, after a mechanical, the 22-year-old had to change his bike, but fortunately returned immediately in the bunch and didn't lose any time, so at the end of the day he retained his tenth place in the overall standings, giving Quick-Step Floors another top 10 finish in a stage race this season, after the one of Dries Devenyns at the Tour Down Under.
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