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Excitement for Vuelta a San Juan stoked at team presentation - Gallery

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Quick-Step Floors DS Davide Bramati sits next to Fernando Gaviria

Quick-Step Floors DS Davide Bramati sits next to Fernando Gaviria
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders wait to be presented to the crowd

The riders wait to be presented to the crowd
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Bardiani CSF team

The Bardiani CSF team
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rui Costa and Darwin Atapuma lead the UAE Abu Dhabi squad

Rui Costa and Darwin Atapuma lead the UAE Abu Dhabi squad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nippo-Vini Fantini have GC hopes in Jualian Arredondo

Nippo-Vini Fantini have GC hopes in Jualian Arredondo
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

The Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Androni Giocattoli will be hoping to put the disappointment of missing a Giro wildcard behind them

Androni Giocattoli will be hoping to put the disappointment of missing a Giro wildcard behind them
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Bahrain-Merida line-up includes Vincenzo Nibali

The Bahrain-Merida line-up includes Vincenzo Nibali
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Big crowds came along to watch the team presentation

Big crowds came along to watch the team presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Argentina national squad

The Argentina national squad
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Trek-Segafredo show off their new kit

Trek-Segafredo show off their new kit
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The team presentation

The team presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Confetti is distributed the crowd

Confetti is distributed the crowd
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders leave the stadium

The riders leave the stadium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen takes a selfie with Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen takes a selfie with Tom Boonen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Quick-Step bring Fernando Gaviria and Tom Boonen

Quick-Step bring Fernando Gaviria and Tom Boonen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Big screens helped the crowd watch

Big screens helped the crowd watch
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Quick-Step Floors walk on stage

Quick-Step Floors walk on stage
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A large crowd watches on

A large crowd watches on
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The colours of the San Juan peloton

The colours of the San Juan peloton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Despite the Tour de San Luis taking precedence on the international calendar in recent years, the neighbouring province of San Juan considers itself the true heartland of cycling in Argentina, and locals packed out the Estadio Aldo Cantoni on Sunday night for the team presentation and opening ceremony of the 35th Vuelta a San Juan.

The compère stoked the atmosphere early on by demanding a cheer-off between those who support Boca Juniors and River Plate, the country’s foremost football teams, and then inviting three couples onto the stage for an impromptu dance-off.

Soon it was the riders gracing the stage, with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Boonen, Elia Viviani, and Rui Costa receiving a particularly warm welcome as the organisers reeled off their every achievement, basking in the pride of their race’s newfound UCI 2.1 status and the resulting array of stars from the international pro peloton.

It was a lengthy ceremony as no fewer than 26 teams, all with six riders, were called up onto the stage. The WorldTour teams were sprinkled towards the end but the final spot was reserved for the Argentinian national squad, which includes the winner of the last three editions, Laureanos Rosas. He thanked ‘los Sanjuaninos’ for their support, but he knew his task had just become a whole lot more daunting as the likes of Nibali, who gave an impressive cameo of his Spanish, were now sat in the front row.

A full rendition of the Argentinian national anthem was blared out to an upstanding audience and then it was time for speeches from men in suits. The race director and presidents of the local and national federations were there but it was Sergio Mauricio Uñac, governor of the province of San Juan, who stole the show with a rousing display of pride in his region and its people.

He must have thanked everyone there was to thank three times over but he became increasingly impassioned as he extolled the enthusiasm for cycling in San Juan and vowed to ensure the race remains on the international pro calendar and grows in years to come. A confetti cannon provided the overblown, if strangely fitting, crescendo, followed by emotional dance-pop and man-hugs with fellow dignitaries – a job well done in stoking excitement for the race, which begins later today.

Was a great turn out last night at the @vueltasanjuanok team presentation! Thanks, Argentina! You're great! pic.twitter.com/kRI3igdLlJ