Julian Arredondo won stage 2 of the Tour de San Luís atop the Mirador del Potrero de los Funes climb on Tuesday in Argentina. Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) surged to victory at the close of the 170-kilometer second leg of the seven-stage race after a duel on the finish climb with American Peter Stetina (BMC Racing).
Stetina was second atop the 4.8km, 6.7-percent Mirador del Potrero climb. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was third.
“It’s a very important victory,” said Arredondo.
After Stetina attacked roughly 1km into the climb, Arredondo and he rode into the final 2km alone at the front of the race.
“It was a tactical climb and there was a real bad headwind,” Stetina told VeloNews. After a kilometer, it swelled and I looked over at Darwin [Atapuma], who’s our climbing extraordinaire. He nodded at me, so I decided to hit out and make it hard. Otherwise, it would be too much drafting all the way up. You know, I got a gap immediately and I was hoping that either it would shatter behind and Darwin could come up to me or he could just across.”
Arredondo sat on the American’s wheel and Stetina later called it a tactical move he wasn’t willing to make.
“He wasn’t willing to take a pull,” said Stetina. “That was his tactic. He was willing to lose it more than I was, and that’s why he won. He had a better kick than I did.”
With a group of five riders approaching from behind, Stetina attacked inside the final 200 meters, but Arredondo nipped the American at the line. The Colombian said his original plan keyed off Quintana, the best young rider at the 2013 Tour de France.
“My plan was to follow Quintana all the way up the climb, but when Stetina attacked, I just followed the wheel,” he said. “I sat on, and had more than him at the finish. I dedicate this victory to my family, and to my new Trek teammates.”
Stage 1 winner Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) finished 15th, at :19, to defend his overall lead against second-placed Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare). Gaimon leads his day 1 breakaway partner by 1:47 after two stages. Stetina and Arredondo are now fourth and fifth, respectively, at 4:16. Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) is third, at 3:56.
When asked whether he, in his first race for Garmin-Sharp, had proven himself a capable professional, Gaimon told VeloNews, “I’d say I hope so. Yesterday didn’t hurt and today, more so, proved that I could hold it.”
Backed by a team including Tom Danielson and Janier Acevedo, who each paced him on the finish climb, Gaimon said Garmin had turned its focus to defending his overall lead over the race’s remaining five days.
“Now I think we’re going to focus on keeping me in the jersey and extending our lead as much as we can,” he said.
The Tour de San Luís continues Wednesday with the 175km third stage, from Tilisarao to Juana Koslay. The stage features the Cat. 3 Alto Paso Grande early and a rolling profile.
Neal Rogers, on assignment in Argentina, contributed to this report.