Tom Boonen wins Vuelta a San Juan stage 2
The Belgian legend took a comfortable victory in just his second day of racing this season, becoming the first ever road cyclist to land a win on disc brakes.
Vuelta a San Juan stage 1: Tom Boonen does a big lead-out for Fernando Gaviria, the Colombian sprints to victory. Vuelta a San Juan stage 2: Fernando Gaviria picks up lead-out duties, and Tom Boonen snatches the win, his second on Argentinean turf. So far, that's been the story of the 35th Vuelta a San Juan, a race in which both Gaviria and Boonen got their season underway in style.
A 128.5km stage starting and finishing in San Juan was in line on Tuesday, when four riders escaped the clutches of the peloton and built a maximum lead of three minutes. As was the case one day earlier, Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team controlled the gap, avoided the two crashes that took down several riders in the closing kilometers and made sure stage 2 will end up in a bunch sprint.
Nothing was left to chance in the final meters, when Max Richeze (the only Argentinean to ride at World Tour level) and race leader Fernando Gaviria dug deep to take Tom Boonen at the front and launch him to victory, the team's third in 2017. The win – first ever of a rider on a bike equipped with disc brakes – means that Quick-Step Floors continues to lead the teams standings going into the third stage of Vuelta a San Juan.
Tom, who's now won at least one race in each of his 16 seasons as pro, was full of praise for his teammates at the finish: "Right from the start of the day, the plan was to do the sprint for me, after going with Fernando on stage 1. In the final kilometer, both Max and Fernando did an awesome job and I got the better of Elia. I want to thank them for their help, because in the end, this is a team win. I've always had a good experience in Argentina and this victory shows that I'm on the right track for the upcoming races."
"It's just the start of the season, but the level in San Juan is a good one. I'm happy to win in Argentina, in front of these unbelievable fans. It's incredible how many people came at the start and at the finish, you can really feel how much they love cycling and how passionate they are about it", concluded Tom, who throughout his career has won more than 100 races across 13 countries and four continents.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele