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by Shane Stokes
January 27, 2018
Wellens wins Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana; Najar wins stage 5 and takes overall lead in Vuelta a San Juan; QuickStep riders hospitalised after being hit by a truck; Kwiatkowski chasing Flanders and Liège success in 2018; Gaviria to return to Colombia after San Juan abandon; Aqua Blue Sport riders to donate 5% of all prize money to fight against breast cancer; Detroit’s Lexus Velodrome to be officially opened Friday evening; Video: Mitchelton-Scott’s 2018 Race Melbourne; Video: Awesome Cycling – Downhill MTB, Street Trials & BMX Tricks
Gonzolo Najar (S.E.P de San Juan) took the biggest international result of his career on Friday, soloing to an impressive victory on the Queen stage of the Vuelta a San Juan. The Argentinian national champion landed both a home win and also the overall classification lead with his solo effort, reaching the line one minute 58 seconds clear of Oscar Sevilla Rivera (Medellin). Rodolfo Torres (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) was two minutes and five seconds back, with Ignacio de Jesus Prado (Canel’s-Specialized) at 2 minutes 15.
Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal), Eduardo Sepulveda (Movistar Team) and overnight leader Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates) were in a chase group two minutes 23 seconds back. “The national championships in 2017 that I won gave me a lot of faith,” said Najar. “Today, I had excellent sensations and the team, thanks to them from my heart, backed me to try for this win.”
Ganna had started the day five seconds ahead of Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe), with Sevilla lurking at 11 seconds. The 169.5 kilometre stage to Alto Colorado featured four classified climbs, with the category 1 summit finish bringing the riders to just over 2,500 metres in altitude.
A breakaway of ten riders went away early on, fighting it out for King of the Mountains points, but although they gained over five minutes they were caught inside the final 40 kilometres. Najar’s teammate Juan Pablo Dotti launched and after he was hauled back, Najar made his move. Sevilla and others chased, but they were powerless to stop the Argentinean from taking the stage and also the overall lead.
He is now one minute and two seconds clear of Sevilla with two stages remaining. Ganna is a further 20 seconds back in third.