Vuelta a San Juan: Strong time trial lifts Narvaez to eighth in the GC
The third youngest rider on the World Tour scene, the 20-year-old Ecuadorian impressed just three days into his pro debut.
First South American winner of the prestigious Circuit des Ardennes, and one of the most promising young riders in the amateur ranks last year, Jhonatan Narvaez didn't waste any time in showing his potential against more seasoned opponents, in what is his first race with the Quick-Step Floors team, the Vuelta a San Juan.
Ecuadorian Champion on the road and a solid climber, Jhonatan proved this week that there's more to him than meets the eye: after attacking on the second stage and gaining time on some of his rivals, the 20-year-old followed up with a strong display on the race's sole ITT, held over a 14.4km-long undulating course starting and finishing in San Juan.
Narvaez stopped the clock in 18:35 on the stage won by Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo), enough for tenth position, and moved up no less than 25 places in the general classification. Eighth now with four days to go, including one that will take the peloton to Alto del Colorado, Narvaez was content with his result at the end of the day.
"I am really happy with my first time trial in the Quick-Step Floors jersey. I haven't trained for this discipline in the past months and wasn't quite sure what was possible, but I was focused and wanted to do my best and aim for a good result. I had the legs today, but with the last three kilometers going up and that nagging headwind things became very difficult. In the end, I'm pleased with the result and with making my way into the top 10 overall."
Rémi Cavagna, who proved his prowess against the clock for the first time at the previous edition of the Vuelta a San Juan, showed again the sheer determination that has become a defining trait since his U23 days and concluded as Quick-Step Floors' highest-placed rider on Tuesday's stage, which he finished in eight place, just 44 seconds down on the winner, a result that puts the 22-year-old Frenchman him only five seconds from breaking the top ten overall.
"I went with all I had today, but it wasn't enough. I felt good in the first part of the stage, but began suffering in the last four kilometers on that uphill section and with the strong headwind. Of course, I am a bit disappointed as I had hoped for more, but on the other hand I know that I can still improve and this is only the first race of the season. I take a good experience with me from this time trial and look forward to the next stages, when I'll try to help the team get some more good results", said Rémi after his first race of the year against the clock.
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