Contador outsprints Leipheimer to land first win of 2012
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Contador outsprints Leipheimer to land first win of 2012

by Shane Stokes at 10:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Spaniard takes over race lead prior to time trial

Alberto ContadorAlthough he stated beforehand that he was over his racing weight and wouldn't be in contention in the mountains, Saxo Bank rider Alberto Contador proved the strongest on today’s third leg of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

The Spaniard accelerated clear on the final climb of Mirador del Potrero, being joined by last year’s race winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale) and Omega Pharma Quick Step’s Levi Leipheimer. Nibali went backwards and Contador and Leipheimer squared up in a sprint to the line, which the Saxo Bank rider won.

“I was better than expected, because I had my doubts after I took many months without cycling after the Tour de France,” he said. “I started training after the training camp in Israel, in the second half of December. Despite everything, we've done a good job and we got a rather unexpected victory for me.”

While Contador played down his chances prior to the mountain stage, he admitted today that he had checked out the course beforehand. “I saw it by car because it rained heavily that day, but still did not know how it would be,” he said.

“We made a small selection, but certainly I did not know how I was or how the rivals will be. But all went well. I could not leave it without trying [something].”

Androni Giocattoli rider Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez was third, five seconds back, while Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches-Ofone) and Daniel Diaz (San Luis Somos Todos) were nine and twelve seconds down.

Leipheimer’s directeur sportif Davide Bramati was full of praise for the Omega Pharma Quick Step riders afterwards. “The team moved very well again today,” he said. “The guys controlled the race, protecting Levi in the first part of the race. In the kilometres immediately proceeding the start of the climb we accelerated, reducing the group to only 30 riders. With two kilometres to go to the arrival Levi attacked Contador. At 300 metres from the arrival Contador took off and Levi, who had worked hard beforehand, couldn’t respond to the acceleration.”

The 168.2 kilometre stage began in Estancia Grande and was marked early on by a surge by Tomas Metcalfe (Carmin-Prio) and Gregory Duarte (Uruguay). The duo attacked prior to the day’s first big climb, the third category La Florida ramp. They were chased by Renato Dos Santos (Brazil), and crossed the summit in that order.

The latter managed to bridge across and opened up a maximum lead over six minutes by the time they began the category one Alto de Nogoli.

The climb lasted 25.5 kilometres and reached an attitude of over 2000 metres by the summit at kilometre 60; the breakaway riders went on to extend their lead to eight minutes, but this then started falling when a twenty man group went clear of the peloton.

This split contained several well known riders such as French champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma Quick Step) and Contador’s Saxo Bank team-mate Jesus Hernandez.

The three man move was still clear at the summit, where Dos Santos took the prime in front of Rubiano and Duarte. All of those were mopped up after the first intermediate sprint by approximately sixty others. Angelo Pagani (Colnago-CSF Inox) then attacked from this group and built a lead of almost two minutes with 50 kilometres remaining.

He tried to resist as the final climb of the Mirador del Potrero approached, but his chances were hampered by a flat tyre which delayed him. He was finally caught inside the final twenty kilometres, after which Contador and the other big guns played things out.

It’s hard to know if he was trying to put pressure on Leipheimer or if he genuinely believes this to be the case, but the Spaniard insisted that the American rider was the race favourite now, despite being four seconds back overall.

“He is the strongest for the overall, he looks very fit and highly trained,” he said. “For me this victory was important, but there are others who are bigger favourites than me for tomorrow’s time trial and for the overall”.

Bramati also believes his rider has a big chance. “The game is still anyone’s to win. Levi is in great shape and he can count on a fantastic team,” he explained. “It’s going to be a fantastic fight.”

Schumacher ends the day third overall, 19 seconds back and three ahead of Diaz.

 

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Tour de San Luis Stage 3 Result: Estancia Grande to Mirador del Potrero (168.2km)

  Click on the arrowsat the top of the column to sort the race results.
Country Result Name Team Time
esp ESP 1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Team Saxo Bank) 04:29:27
usa USA 2 Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
col COL 3 Miguel Angel Chavez Rubiano (Androni - Venezuela) 00:00:05
ger GER 4 Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches-Onfone) 00:00:09
arg ARG 5 Daniel Diaz (San Luis Somos Todos) 00:00:12
col COL 6 Jose Cayetano Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Liquigas-Cannondale) 00:00:26
ita ITA 7 Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) s.t.
col COL 8 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Androni - Venezuela) s.t.
CHI 9 Luis Miguel Mansilla Almonacid () s.t.
ita ITA 10 Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team) 00:00:35
esp ESP 11 David Arroyo Duran (Movistar Team) s.t.
fra FRA 12 Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
aus AUS 13 Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) s.t.
col COL 14 Didier Chaparro (Colombia - Comcel) s.t.
arg ARG 15 Enzo Josue Moyano (Caja Rural) s.t.
ven VEN 16 Jackson Rodriguez (Androni - Venezuela) 00:00:48
esp ESP 17 Adrian Palomares Villaplana (Andalucia - Caja Granada) 00:00:55
crc CRC 18 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team) 00:00:56
col COL 19 John Edibberto Martinez Montero (Colombia - Comcel) s.t.
col COL 20 Mauricio Alberto Cano Ardila (Colombia - Comcel) s.t.

General classification after stage 3:

Country Result Name Team Time
esp ESP 1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Team Saxo Bank) 12:45:15
usa USA 2 Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) 00:00:04
ger GER 3 Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches-Onfone) 00:00:19
arg ARG 4 Daniel Diaz (San Luis Somos Todos) 00:00:22
ita ITA 5 Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) 00:00:36
col COL 6 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Androni - Venezuela) s.t.
col COL 7 Jose Cayetano Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Liquigas-Cannondale) s.t.
CHI 8 Luis Miguel Mansilla Almonacid () s.t.
esp ESP 9 David Arroyo Duran (Movistar Team) 00:00:45
fra FRA 10 Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
crc CRC 11 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team) 00:01:06
BRA 12 Magno Prado Nazaret (Funvic- Pindamonhangaba) 00:01:09
col COL 13 Félix Rafael Cardenas Ravelo (GW - Shimano) 00:01:28
ita ITA 14 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale) 00:01:53
col COL 15 Jaime Suaza (GW - Shimano) s.t.
arg ARG 16 Jorge Giacinti (San Luis Somos Todos) 00:02:00
esp ESP 17 Jesus Rosendo Prado (Andalucia - Caja Granada) 00:02:10
aus AUS 18 Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Presented By Maxxis) 00:02:54
arg ARG 19 Enzo Josue Moyano (Caja Rural) s.t.
ger GER 20 Markus Eichler (Team NetApp) 00:03:01

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