Tour de San Luis mountain test for Contador, Nibali, Leipheimer and others
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tour de San Luis mountain test for Contador, Nibali, Leipheimer and others

by Shane Stokes at 5:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Early season examination of form today

Levi LeipheimerAfter two days of sprint finishes in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, where Omega Pharma Quick Step’s Francesco Chicchi triumphed twice, the emphasis changes completely today when the climbers move to the fore.

The 168.2 kilometre third stage will finish on top of the category one Mirador del Potrero, and will also cross the 25 kilometre long, 2084 metre high Alto de Nogoli along the way.

Riders such as 2011 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale), Omega Pharma Quick Step’s GC contender Levi Leipheimer, Jose Serpa and Emanuele Sella (Androni Venezuela) will all push hard to test themselves, and to fight for a big result if the form is there.

Also likely to play a part is Saxo Bank leader Alberto Contador, although he said yesterday that he won’t be under pressure to achieve a specific result. “It will be good for me to know what level I am,” he said, according to Biciciclismo. “I think there are better riders than me, of course, because I’ve trained little but we will see what result I get.”

He said before the race that he had put on 7.5 kilos after the Tour de France, although he had since lost four of those during the team’s training camp in Gran Canaria.

The 2.1-ranked race will provide a further test of riders’ condition tomorrow with a 19.5 kilometre time trial in San Luis. It’s flat and fast, and whomever wants to win the overall must perform there.

It’s uncertain who will be in the race lead after that point, but what’s assured is that Chicchi will give up the leader’s jersey today. He has shown fine speed thus far, and pipped team-mate Tom Boonen yesterday by a tiny margin to grab win number two.

“ I made my sprint attempt in the final meters and found myself head to head with Chicchi,” said Boonen, who was delayed when a rider touched his front wheel. “We looked at each other and just by instinct we both raised our arms. We didn’t know who of us had won but it didn’t matter.”

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