The men’s team opened their season in South America for the first time in program history and came away with an impressive result. Gavin Mannion finished ninth overall in the week-long Vuelta a San Juan thanks to strong performances in the stage 3 time trial and stage 5’s mountaintop finish to Alto Colorado.
“I’m definitely pleased with the result and with starting the year on a high note,” said Mannion.”We came in targeting a top 10 on GC and we accomplished that. I felt as good as can be expected with 100 plus degree stages to start the season.”
Mannion’s status as team leader for the event was left in doubt following a crash on stage 1 where he dislocated his shoulder and faced a long chase back to the peloton.
“Once they got my shoulder back in it was really the chase back that took it out of me,” said Mannion. “I can’t say it hindered me beyond that so I consider myself quite fortunate. The team was dialed and took care of me the entire week.”
In a display of strength on stage 3, the team placed three riders in the top 15 of the individual time trial. Colin Joyce finished eighth, Mannion came in 10th, and Canadian time trial champion Rob Britton placed 14th.
The result bodes well for next week’s opening team time trial at the Tour Colombia 2.1.
Climbers had their shot two stages later on the Alto Colorado summit finish but before they got there, the peloton split in the crosswinds and Mannion missed out.
With help from Nate Brown, Rob Britton, Robin Carpenter, and Kyle Murphy, Mannion was able to regain contact with the leaders as the lower slopes of the final climb began. He would move into ninth on the general classification and hold it through the race’s finale in San Juan.
“I’m quite pleased with the team’s performance this week,” said team director Pat McCarty. “All of the guys looked fit and prepared for their first race and now we’re taking a nice boost heading into Colombia.”
Final overall results
1 EVENEPOEL Remco Deceuninck – Quick Step 23:13:59
2 GANNA Filippo Italy 0:33
3 SEVILLA Óscar Team Medellin 1:01
4 MCNULTY Brandon UAE-Team Emirates 1:21
5 FLÓREZ Miguel Eduardo Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec 2:11
6 OLIVEIRA Nelson Movistar Team 2:27
7 MARTIN Guillaume Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 2:28
8 PAREDES César Nicolás Team Medellin 2:36
9 MANNION Gavin Rally Cycling 2:53
10 DOTTI Juan Pablo Sindicato Empleados Públicos of San Juan 3:05