Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team has played a role in every stage so far, finding themselves on the podium once again at the 173.1km Stage 3 of Tour de San Luis on Wednesday. Michal Kwiatkowski finished 3rd on the first mountain stage in Argentina, setting himself up for a potential GC battle in the 19.2km Stage 4 ITT on Thursday.
Kwiatkowski worked hard to keep himself in the peloton — which dwindled to about 40 riders in the final kilometers — and led the peloton on the final, Category 1 climb that averaged 6.7 percent for 4.8 kilometers. Alex Diniz (Funvic), however, attacked on the Mirador del Potrero and won solo, with Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) finishing 2nd.
"Everyone from the team helped me from the beginning," Kwiatkowski said. "After the first climb, it was just Chavanel and Serry in the front, so they cared about me and supported me to the finish of the race. On the last climb I was trying to go with my tempo. Chava was the leadout for me a little bit with 3kms to go. I started to ride my own speed and I was able to keep my speed until the finish. I was just trying to do the best I can, you know."
Diniz is the new race leader, with Kwiatkowski in 3rd, 24" back from the overall lead.
"With this condition right now I am really looking forward for the GC and tomorrow's TT," Kwiatkowski added. "It's my good point, the TT. I will try my best and hope I can take the leader's jersey tomorrow. As for today, I want to say thank you to my team for believing in me, and believing that I can have good results."
Chavanel was also an aggressor for OPQS earlier in the 3rd stage, working his way into a seven rider break. However, he and several other break members lost contact somewhere between Cat 1 climb Alto de Nogoli and the ensuing descent. The rest of the break was then caught with 30km to go, and the race came back together, despite a break of two other riders, as the final climb of the day approached.