Earlier this week in a media roundtable, Nairo Quintana had been accused of waiting too long to make time at last year’s Tour de France. There was no such hanging about on the third stage of the Tour de San Luis as the Colombian and his Movistar team tried to put the pressure on their rivals by making multiple attacks on the final climb of the Mirador del Potrero.
Fellow GC favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) also went on the attack but it came to naught. "We tried to break the bunch apart, but we ultimately came pretty much all together. The pace from the bottom of Potrero was already high, with plenty of attacks,” said Quintana.
“There were some by ourselves, then Nibali, another one by Rodolfo Torres - but none of them opened a real gap, and sprinters like Gaviria or Sagan made it to the summit into the front group, so our only chance was getting through the descent without any troubles.”
As the media descended on Movistar’s mini-van after the stage, Nibali too sought to get Quintana’s thoughts. The two had had a quick, and secretive, discussion before the Italian ventured back to his teammates. It wasn’t clear what had gone on between the two but it appeared to be about the attacks on the Potrero.
Whatever went on between the two the status quo in the general classification remains the same. Quintana is currently best placed of the pre-race favourites at 18 seconds down with Nibali nine seconds behind him.
Stage 4 will be the first real opportunity for the pair, along with the other general classification riders, to test themselves on the summit finish to Cerro el Amago. The soaring temperatures are also expected to continue with the thermometer expected to approach 40 degrees Celsius once again.
“Tomorrow's stage will be quite different, really another story. There will surely be some gaps, just like every year. Heat will play a massive factor, it will be hard for all of us - let's hope none of the team are affected in a bad way by it."