35th edition of the Vuelta a San Juan is starting on Monday. Four WorldTour teams – Quick-Step Floors, Trek-Segafredo, Bahrain Merida, and UAE Abu Dhabi – will be on the start line.
The race has 7 stages; 5 are in line with a probable sprint finish, one is 12km individual time trial and the last one, “Queen Stage”, with the finish at the top of Alto Colorado, has a 15km climb with maximum gradient of 7 % and an average of 4.5 %.
“The team is ready,” says Bahrain Merida sports director Paolo Slongo. “We have worked well in the past months and here in San Juan the team is competitive and can do well, both uphill and in the ITT. The two unknowns are the heat and the South American riders who are in the middle of the season so far ahead in the preparation than their European colleagues.”
“The route is suitable for those who develop a lot of strength and manage to push big gears. Me and my mates – we can aim for a good result.”, said Kanstantsin Siutsou about the time trial stage.
In addition to the time trial, the Argentine race has a very specific climb towards the end. “It is not so much the slope,” said Vincenzo Nibali at the end of the reconnaissance, “but we found a great heat, headwind and the altitude above 2500 meters to be an extra element of difficulty.”
At his side will be two experienced riders, Valerio Agnoli and Franco Pellizotti, who will help the captain in what appears to be the decisive stage of the Tour.