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Richeze takes Vuelta a San Juan criterium after late night team presentation – Gallery

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The big five at 2019 Vuelta a San Juan on the criterium podium

The big five at 2019 Vuelta a San Juan on the criterium podium (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Peter Sagan says hello to the local politicians

Peter Sagan says hello to the local politicians (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Max Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) high-fives the crowd as he rides to the podium

Max Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) high-fives the crowd as he rides to the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Max Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) takes centre stage after winning the Vuelta a San Juan criterium on Saturday night

Max Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) takes centre stage after winning the Vuelta a San Juan criterium on Saturday night (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The night-time criterium is under way

The night-time criterium is under way (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bora-Hansgrohe ride on stage at the team presentation

Bora-Hansgrohe ride on stage at the team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nairo Quintansa is from Colombia but is adored in Argentina

Nairo Quintansa is from Colombia but is adored in Argentina (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Deceuninck-QuickStep on stage

The Deceuninck-QuickStep on stage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) during the Vuelta a San Juan team presentation

Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) during the Vuelta a San Juan team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish rides on stage

Mark Cavendish rides on stage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gianni Savio and his Androni Giocattoli are well-known in South America

Gianni Savio and his Androni Giocattoli are well-known in South America (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) waves to the crowds

Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) waves to the crowds (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The spectacular square in San Juan hosted the team presentation

The spectacular square in San Juan hosted the team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A tango show was part of the night-time team presentation

A tango show was part of the night-time team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) seems to know he has to race a criterium in the dark after the team presentation

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) seems to know he has to race a criterium in the dark after the team presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The WorldTour criterium gets underway

The WorldTour criterium gets underway (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Max Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) celebrates his San Juan criterium win

Max Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) celebrates his San Juan criterium win (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) goes on the attack

Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) goes on the attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Local hero Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 'won' the pre-race criterium on the evening before the start of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, bringing down the curtain on the official evening team presentation that included a lightshow, a long catwalk in front of thousands of local fans, fireworks and even a tango demonstration.

The event was bigger and brasher than any Tour de France team presentation, with live television coverage and the organisers claiming around 100,000 people turned up to watch the event. It was probably one tenth of that, but it was a spectacular way to kick off a race, even if it meant riders went to bed close to midnight before Sunday’s opening road race stage. Fortunately, stage 1 starts at 3:45pm, with the finished scheduled for 7:30pm local time.

All of the 27 teams on the Vuelta a San Juan start list took part in the team presentation, with the local Continental teams focused more on getting a selfie with Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Nairo Quintana than saving their legs for the week of racing.

After riding around the central Plaza del Bicentenario and onto a stage in the shadow of the stunning new town hall, the riders made sure they thanked the local politicians and especially el Gobernador de San Juan, Sergio Uñac, who proudly declared San Juan as ‘capital mundial de la passion por el ciclismo’.

As the fireworks lit up the sky, the riders headed off to find their bikes and prepare for the three criteriums. The WorldTour riders were first off for their five-lap, 10km race, followed by the Professional Continental teams and then the many local Continental teams.

The final race was fiercely competitive; the others a little less so. However, the WorldTour riders rode at close to 50kph, careful not to crash in the dark, with the real Vuelta a San Juan just hours away.

A different breakaway formed each lap, with first Deceuninck-QuickStep and then UAE Team Emirates and Movistar closing them down. Cavendish joined one move, and when he was pulled back with two laps to go, Richeze jumped away, much to the joy of the local crowd. Quintana soon got cross to him and they opened a 30-second gap on the peloton that quickly lost interest.

Quintana had no reply when Richeze opened up his sprint, and the Argentinean won by several bike lengths. The sprint for third was more of a fair match, with Cavendish coming through to hit the line first ahead of Sagan and Fernando Gaviria. 

The Deceuninck-QuickStep team celebrated victory, and they could celebrate again a few hours later thanks to Elia Viviani winning the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong, Australia.

Click or swipe through the gallery from the team presentation and pre-race criterium.