José Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli) demonstrated that he is capable of winning the Tour de San Luis title with his stage two victory atop the Mirador del Potrero on Tuesday. The Colombian is four seconds ahead of his nearest competitor Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) with five days of racing still to come.
“We will try to work for this leader’s jersey,” said Androni-Giocattoli directeur sportif Gianni Savio. “This is only the second stage and it is very early in the Tour de San Luis and the winner has not been decided yet.”
Serpa placed second to Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the overall classification last year. This year’s overall contenders include Nibali’s teammates Capecchi and two-time Giro d’ Italia winner Ivan Basso, along with Xavier Tondo and Mauricio Soler of Movistar, 2007 overall winner Jorge Giacinti and Josue Moyano of Team Argentina, and Fortunato Baliani (D’Angelo & Antenucci).
“For this year our objective is to make the podium with Serpa,” Savio said. “Last year he was second and I think that we will have the possibility to repeat what we did last year. Vincenzo Nibali won last year and I think the strongest team is Liquigas with Ivan Basso.”
The overall contenders will continue to emerge following the stage four time trial on Thursday. Savio said he would be pleased with a top 10 performance from Serpa in the 19km individual event but noted the strong specialists in attendance.
“The only rider we have for the time trial is Serpa,” Savio said. “I think he will be able to be in the first ten positions. But it will be very difficult for him to win. A good result will be for him to stay in the top 10 or 15. Here in Argentina there are good time trial men.”
The climbers will have two final bids for the overall classification during stage five’s category three mountaintop finish on the Mirador del Sol and the queen stage six’s two category 1 climbs, the mid-race Alto de Nogoli and the event’s final mountaintop finish to La Carolina.
“I think stage six will be harder this year,” Savio said. “It will be very good for Serpa and Jackson Rodriguez. The overall classification will also be decided a little bit in the time trial but mainly in stage five and stage six. Stage five won’t separate the field a lot, maybe by seconds between the climbers, but not minutes. Stage six will separate the climbers by minutes.”
Sprinter Roberto Ferrari won the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis from a breakaway sprint in Justo Daract. The team will look to Ferrari for its third consecutive stage win in Villa Mercedes in stage three.
“We will support Ferrari in the sprints with Giaro Ermiti and Angel Vicioso,” Savio said. “Vicioso is also a good sprinter but he is made for the breakaway-type sprints. He is not really a sprinter for the peloton, like Ferrari. I think the next sprints at the Tour de San Luis will be peloton sprints in stage three and stage seven.”