Trek Factory Racing has started the 2014 season in fine fashion as the new WorldTour squad has won back-to-back stages at Argentina's Tour de San Luis. Wednesday's third stage was taken by 24-year-old Italian Giacomo Nizzolo in the race's first field sprint finale. While hardly a prolific winner in his career thus far, Nizzolo has nonetheless won races in each of his previous three years, all on the RadioShack squad.
2014 sees the new Trek Factory Racing team rise out of the ashes of the RadioShack-Leopard squad, and while there is plenty of experienced and accomplished star power in the team, the honour of taking the first-ever victory for the squad was earned by WorldTour debutant Julián Arredondo on Tuesday at the Tour de San Luis, one day prior to Nizzolo. The 25-year-old Colombian outsprinted Peter Stetina (BMC) to win the first mountain stage of the seven-day Argentinean race in just his second day ever on a WorldTour team.
It's no surprise that Arredondo felt at home in the mountains as he proved in 2013 when he won the queen stage of the Tour de Langkawi to the Genting Highlands en route to overall victory while on the Japanese Continental squad Team Nippo-De Rosa.
Speaking with Cyclingnews prior to the start of the stage won by Nizzolo, Arredondo related his thanks to the US-registered WorldTour squad for their faith in his abilities.
"I'm very happy with my win because the team gave me the opportunity to race at the highest level," said Arredondo. "We're going to have more victories, but I'm very happy to have the first."
Arredondo was part of a two-pronged Trek Factory Racing team assault on the Mirador del Potrero finish, with the Colombian taking the bull by the horns.
"We were very focused on the last climb and the team's option was either me or Haimar Zubeldia. I got to the front of the group on the climb and then had a good sensation all the way to the finish."
And while Arredondo's primary goal this season is the Giro d'Italia, his more immediate concern is to defend the mountains classification jersey earned from winning stage 2 on Tuesday. Two more mountain finishes still remain at the Tour de San Luis.
"The first target at the Tour de San Luis was to win a stage, but now that I have the mountains jersey I want to win that. It's very important for a Colombian climber to take this jersey."
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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.
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