Julian Alaphilippe launches late attack to win second Vuelta San Juan Stage
Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took victory in the second stage of the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina
The stifling Argentinian heat returned for stage 2 of the Vuelta a San Juan, with temperatures so high the race organisers had to invoke the UCI’s extreme weather protocol. While the stage itself was shortened by 28km, this didn’t affect the day’s excitement in the slightest, with a committed break providing the bulk of the day’s entertainment before the attacks came on the final ascent of the Alto Punta Negra.
On what was planned as a 160km route culminating in four laps of a 28km circuit, the blistering Argentinian heat saw the second day of racing shortened by one lap. While shorter, this still meant riders would wind their way up the third category Alto Punta Negra four times over the course of the day, its 8.3% slopes getting tougher with every pass, before the final climb to the finish. Building an advantage that topped out at 3:34, the day’s break started as a quartet before steadily shedding riders as the day went on and the temperature forced the escapees to return to the relative comfort of the peloton.
As the breakaway hit the final lap after the penultimate climb of the Alto Punta Negra, just two riders remained and the bunch was less than a minute behind, but the strain was proving too much – the duo becoming a solo with 26km to go and the signs of the day’s efforts showing on the face of the last of the break. Inside the final 10km, the heavily reduced bunch made the catch and started winding up for the final climb to the finish, and with 2.5km to go it was here that the climbers started going on the attack.
Julian Alaphilippe attacked on the final 3km 8.3% uphill climb. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) tried to bridge up to the Frenchman but could not close the gap.
Alaphilippe was able to maintain his gap and crossed the finish line, just metres ahead of the charging peloton.
VIDEO: 2019 Vuelta San Juan Stage 2 Finish
Italian Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) was second across the line followed by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in third, showing he had the legs to contest the finale even after a tough climb.
The general classification is led by the Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) followed by Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) in second, with Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) is third place overall.
The third stage of the Vuelta a San Juan 2019 will be held on Tuesday, January 29 is a 12-kilometer individual time trial with start and finish in the town of Pocito.
It is expected to shake up the general classification as the time trialists make their mark on the race lead.