Liquigas-Cannondale came to the Tour de San Luis with the aim of repeating their overall victory of 2010. Last January it was Vincenzo Nibali who took the win, but the chances of one of his teammates emulating him are becoming increasingly slim with only two stages left. According to Directeur Sportif Stefano Zanatta, winning the overall classification is no longer a priority but he is pleased enough with the team’s two podium places in stages two and five.
“No, I don’t think it is possible to win the overall now,” Zanatta told Cyclingnews. “I think we saw in stage five, with the breakaway and the new riders that moved up in the classification. I think Tondo has good control with his team and is climbing well right now.”
Two-time Giro d’ Italia winner Ivan Basso pointed to Eros Capecchi as the team’s overall classification rider for the seven-stage event that kicked off last Monday in San Luis, Argentina. Capecchi placed second on stage two in the final five-kilometre ascent on the Mirador Del Potrero and moved into second place overall behind stage winner and former race leader Jose Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli).
Xavier Tondo (Movistar) moved into the overall lead following his win in the stage four 19.5 kms time trial. However, Capecchi slid into fifth place, over one minute back. Stage five’s final 10 km ascent on the Mirador Del Sol saw Capecchi’s teammate Cristiano Salerno ride into second place on the stage from an all-day breakaway that succeeded to the finish line. Capecchi placed 12th on the stage. Although he move up one spot into fourth in the overall, he remains 1:28 minutes behind Tondo heading into the queen stage six.
“I think it was better for Salerno on stage five because he is a good climber,” Zanatta said. “The Argentine rider who won knew the climb very well. But a second place in a stage is very good for him because it is his first year here so it was a good result for him.”
The race is not over yet with the queen stage six still to come, over a 193 km course that boasts two lengthy category one ascents. The first climb is located mid-race on the Alto de Nogoli and the second will greet the peloton during the final 20 km of the race up to La Carolina. The stage could offer Liquigas-Cannondale’s climbers a possible stage win and a chance to move up onto the podium in the overall classification.
“We lost more seconds to Tondo and Serpa in stage five,” Zanatta said. “I think stage six will be good for Capecchi because it is a lot of climbing. It will be good to see how he does in that stage.”
Liquigas-Cannondale arrived to Argentina one week prior to the start of the Tour de San Luis. Zanatta is pleased with the level of training the event offered his riders as they head back to Europe next week.
“This was a good training-type event for Liquigas,” Zanatta said. “We had 15 days of very good training in the sun. For our team it is good to return to Europe and continue this form into our next races.”