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Americans in the 2012 Tour de San Luis, Update 1

January 21, 2012

American Reports

In the first Tour de San Luis report, the American threesome of Timmy Duggan, Ted King, and Levi Leipheimer were scheduled to start the race. Earlier this week UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team named its roster, adding four Americans to the startlist: Jeff Louder, Jake Keough, Adrian Hegyvary, and Jason McCartney. 2012 marks Louder’s and McCartney’s first season with the UnitedHealthcare team.

Duggan and King of Team Liquigas-Cannondale have reported on their adventures in and around San Luis during the past week. They posted Strava data from a five hour training ride that included a 25 km ascent.

Timmy Duggan's Strava data from climb near San Luis (via http://justgoharder.com/)

Duggan wrote in his journal, “My teammate Vincenzo Nibali won the race in 2010 en route to the Vuelta Espana victory later in the year, and we are looking to repeat his successes as well as pop in there for the sprint stages with our star speedster Elia Viviani. We arrived a week prior to the race to adjust to the heat and the time change and to check out some of the stages.”

It’s disappointing to learn from Duggan that the race food in Argentina follows the European pattern he’s mentioned before. “Oh, its nice to be back in race mode. Flavorless grilled chicken and steamed vegetables.”

Ted King reported on the weather among other topics: “So day one exhibited temperatures reaching 42 degrees Celsius which is an uncomfortable touch over 107 degrees Fahrenheit, or in contemporary vernacular, “Wicked friggin’ hot.” It was dry and sunny and enough to make you feel unpleasantly toasty just by looking out the window.”

Levi Leipheimer tweeted on January 19th that he was on his way, which means he may have arrived on the 21st, two days ahead of the start. Leipheimer’s Omega Pharma Quick-Step team selected its roster to fare well in the sprints, overall, and time trial. Sports Director Davide Bramati, said, “For the sprints we can count on the skills of Boonen and Chicchi while for the more challenging stages the team will pull together around Levi Leipheimer, who could also do well in the 4th time trial stage with Bert Grabsch…Our goal is to capture a stage and to figure well in the general classification.”

Louder also departed on January 19th. He tweeted from the airport, “On my way to Argentina for the first race of the year. I got a hair cut today so I am TOTALLY ready!! (1st airport tweet this year too, btw).”

Other news

A more comprehensive rider list has become available at procyclingbet.com.

Earlier this week Danish press reported that Michael Rasmussen on Christina Watches-Onfone has suffered from a stomach illness. Unable to ride for six days, Rasmussen downplayed his chances for a great performance at San Luis and pinned his hopes on teammate Stefan Schumacher to win at the Tour de San Luis.

It seems the biggest news of the week from an Argentinian perspective was the arrival of Alberto Contador. According to the Alberto Contador Notebook, Contador accepted an invitation from the president of Argentina’s Olympic Committee and visited with him in Buenos Aires before proceeding to San Luis. Fans greeted Contador at the airport, where someone thrust an infant against Contador’s chest for a photo opportunity. See this moment at about 1:35 into the video below.

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