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Gallery: Tour de San Luis team presentation

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AG2R has sent a team

AG2R has sent a team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Levi Leipheimer is in town

Levi Leipheimer is in town
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Liquigas

Liquigas
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Team Movistar

Team Movistar
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Team NetApp

Team NetApp
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Omega Pharma has sent a strong team to San Luis

Omega Pharma has sent a strong team to San Luis
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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San Luis has their own team in the race

San Luis has their own team in the race
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Saxo Bank team, led by Alberto Contador

The Saxo Bank team, led by Alberto Contador
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Schumacher and Rasmussen are racing together

Schumacher and Rasmussen are racing together
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Chile team

The Chile team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Serpa, Rodriguez and Rubiano are here to race

Serpa, Rodriguez and Rubiano are here to race
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Paraguay national team

The Paraguay national team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The teams take to the stage

The teams take to the stage
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The late Xavier Tondo is honoured

The late Xavier Tondo is honoured
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The UnitedHealthcare team at the presentation

The UnitedHealthcare team at the presentation
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The UnitedHealthcare team

The UnitedHealthcare team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Moyano proved popular with the crowd

Moyano proved popular with the crowd
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Two Haedos are better than one.

Two Haedos are better than one.
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The GW Shimano team

The GW Shimano team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Team Androni

Team Androni
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Ardlia and Rubiano

Ardlia and Rubiano
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Team Argentina

Team Argentina
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Tom Boonen and Levi Leipheimer

Tom Boonen and Levi Leipheimer
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Brazil team

The Brazil team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Caja Rural team

The Caja Rural team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Chile have a team in the race

Chile have a team in the race
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Colnago CFS team

The Colnago CFS team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Contador greets his fans

Contador greets his fans
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Contador leads the Saxo Bank team

Contador leads the Saxo Bank team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Christina Watches

Christina Watches
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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The Cuba national team

The Cuba national team
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Farnese give the crowd a wave

Farnese give the crowd a wave
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)
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Team Uruguay

Team Uruguay
(Image credit: Luis Barbosa)

With a hard-driving techno soundtrack, an ebullient announcer and thousands of cheering fans packing San Luis's Plaza Pringles, the 25 teams comprising the sixth Tour de San Luis peloton were each welcomed to the stage amidst a spectacle of lights, fog and thunderous applause.

And while the Tour de San Luis is packed with talent from top to bottom, featuring five ProTour, seven Pro Continental, six Continental as well as seven national teams, it was clear that the assembled masses were there to catch a glimpse, or for the lucky ones a fan photo, with Team Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador.

Each of the riders comprising the Tour de San Luis peloton, bar one, took a leisurely spin of about 5 blocks from the team hotels down San Luis's main nightlife thoroughfare, Av Illia, to the staging area where they were assembled in a fenced off paddock, but still easily accessible to fans. The exception to the means of arrival to the 8pm presentation kickoff was Contador, who arrived after his Saxo Bank teammates in a team car, and required a cordon of police to fend off the crowd chanting his name and whisk him into the staging area.

Contador graciously posed with fans pressed against the protective fencing, as well as posed for pictures with several riders before ultimately making his way to the stage as the penultimate team to a huge ovation. The final team to grace the stage was the local Continental squad San Luis Somos Todos.

Each team was received on stage by San Luis province governor Claudio Poggi, sports minister Maria Celia Sanchez and Union Cycliste of Argentina president Gabriel Curuchet. And just as the amassed throngs busily snapped away with their cameras at the stars of the evening, the riders, too, took their own pictures from stage of the enthusiastic crowd, which for most professionals is their first race introduction of the young season.

One of the most emotional moments of the evening was reserved for the Movistar team introduction, where the Spanish ProTour squad was given a plaque commemorating Xavier Tondo, who led the 2011 edition of the Tour de San Luis and died in a tragic accident four months later in May.

After all the teams had assembled on stage, with a breeze kicking up along with the threat of rain, the evening concluded at 9:15pm with a fireworks display over the Plaza Pringles.

The Tour de San Luis begins on Monday, January 23 with a 189.3km stage from San Luis to Mercedes.