Quick-Step Floors dominate Vuelta a San Juan
Our team concluded the race with five stage wins, the most recent being brought by home rider Maximiliano Richeze.
First international edition of Vuelta a San Juan is one that will go down in history for Quick-Step Floors' incredible display of strength, which resulted in the team winning all the flat stages of the race. Fernando Gaviria was the one to kick off the fiesta, and was followed 24 hours later by Tom Boonen, who scored a victory in the pro ranks for the 16th consecutive year. Later in the week, Fernando added another success to his growing palmares, before Maximiliano Richeze took control of the spotlight on the final two days.
After coming out on top from a day-long break in Pocito, the 33-year-old caught the peloton off-guard on stage 7, which was shortened just as the previous one because of the hot weather, with the mercury hitting again more than 40 degrees Celsius. On paper, the stage should have ended in a bunch sprint, and things were looking to go into that direction with three kilometers left, once the three-man breakaway was nullified.
But several riders of the Continental teams had other plans and attacked, opening a 50-meter gap. Maximiliano Richeze covered those moves and with two kilometers to go found himself alone at the front, as the pack looked incapable of reacting. As a result, "El Atomico" soldiered on and went all the way to the finish, crossing the line for a fine solo win and punching the air in celebration. Three seconds later, the peloton arrived, and Tom Boonen came second, giving the team a 1-2 in San Juan stage 7.
"Today, at the start of the stage, my legs weren't so good, as I was still tired after yesterday's huge effort and it was again a sweltering day, but fortunately I found again my good sensations during the stage. This morning, we decided to pull for Tom, and inside the final kilometers I was at the front, monitoring the attacks. I followed one to close it down, and when I turned my head I noticed that there was some daylight between us and the bunch, so I decided to push on", said Max Richeze after scoring the victory which makes Quick-Step Floors the most successful team of 2017 in terms of wins (6).
"This success tastes different than the one of Saturday, because it came more as a surprise. I'm glad that I could seize the opportunity and give reasons to cheer to all these incredible fans."
Winning two stages in San Juan is definitely one of the best moments of my career!
"And what a race it's been for our team: we grabbed five stages here, we were always in the middle of the action and showed ourselves with every occasion. We can be proud of what we achieved and we hope to keep the momentum going and add more nice wins in the coming weeks", concluded Max at the end of the day.
Besides the five stage victories, Quick-Step Floors Team had also other reasons to smile at the 35th Vuelta a San Juan: Pieter Serry finished 10th in the overall classification, while French neo-pro Rémi Cavagna showed glimpses of his potential by coming fourth in the individual time trial and wearing the best young rider jersey for two days.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele