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Katie Hall wins San Luis queen stage, leads overall

Katie Hall is only one day away from winning her first UCI stage race after claiming victory in stage 5 of the Tour Femenino de San Luis Thursday in Argentina.

“The team was unbelievably strong today, I’m really happy to take the stage win and the jersey,” Hall said. “I only had the opportunity because the team covered every attack and allowed me to focus on the final climb.”

The 29-year-old American is in the catbird seat, leading the overall by 24 seconds ahead of Pole Malgorzata Jasinska with one stage left in the six-day race. Malgorzata finished third on the day, behind Cuba’s Arlenis Sierra, who was 17 seconds behind the UnitedHealthcare rider at the end of the 97.4-kilometer stage, which was punctuated by an uphill finish at Mirador de Potrero de los Funes.

“We knew Katie had great form with yesterday’s performance in the TT, and she knows the climb well from last year’s win here,” said UHC director Rachel Heal. “The team did a great job of setting Katie up for the climb, and then Katie finished it off in style. Tomorrow will be a hard stage, with only 4 riders to defend the jersey, but it’s 4 strong and fully committed riders and so we are going all in for the win.”

Hall set herself up to claim the GC lead with a second-place result in Wednesday’s time trial, behind the day’s leader Lauren Stephens, who finished a distant 14th on the Mirador. The flat profile of Friday’s stage means that Hall should be able to keep her lead to the finish in San Luis.