Tour de San Luis Stage 4: Brambilla Top 10 in a Climber's Finish
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianluca Brambilla had an impressive day in the 166.3km Tour de San Luis Stage 4 on Thursday, which included a tough summit finale on Cat. 1 Cerro El Amago (10.5km, 7.2% average gradient). Brambilla finished 9th in a day for the climbers.
Brambilla stayed with a select group of riders, which was down to just 60 in the final kilometers after splitting into multiple packs heading toward the grueling and grinding final ascent. The race came together earlier as the original escape group was brought back well before the final climb approached. However, the race became animated on smaller climbs and Brambilla was able to hang in strong.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) attacked as the race reached just a few kilometers to go, and while other riders were able to chase and some even bridged, Quintana attacked once again and won the race solo. Daniel Sergio Godoy (San Luis Somos Todos) was 2nd, and John Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing Team) was 3rd. Quintana also put minutes into GC leader Phillip Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp), who now leads by just 4" overall.
Brambilla, meanwhile, put everything he had into a top 10 finish.
"I'm happy about my race," Brambilla said. "When we hit the last climb the San Luis team did a terrific rhythm. I kept calm and I held my tempo. The climb was really long and had an incredible percentage. The heat made the race even harder! But today we did the right move. Last night with Davide Bramati we decided to use the 32 gearing. It was really magic, a rabbit from the hat! I could do a good rhythm without destroying my legs. I have to thank all our staff here for the right choice."
Brambilla is only getting stronger, having finished in the top 35 of the previous climbing stage at Tour de San Luis.
"The first uphill stage I wasn't so good probably because of the heat," Brambilla said. "Yesterday I worked hard for the team for the sprint of Tom Boonen. But today I didn't feel the fatigue. I'm happy to be part of this group and work when it is necessary for great champions such as Mark Cavendish and Tom. Then, if I can try my cards, it's even better."