By Nigel Wynn
Orica-GreenEdge may currently be fighting for top honours in the Tour Down Under, its 'home' race in Australia, but it was Canadian Svein Tuft who scored the team's first 2013 international win in Argentina, blasting to win the Tour de San Luis time trial.
Tuft cruised around the 19.2-kilometre individual test against the clock in a time of 22 minutes and 14 seconds, seven seconds ahead of second-placed Argentinian Leandro Messineo (San Luis Somos Todos) and 11 seconds in front of Pole Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
"This time of year, I'm not always sure what I'm going to get," Tuft commented after the victory.
"I've had good feelings, but I was a little surprised at how hard it felt when I was out there. I forget every year how hard it is. I think that's what allows me to keep doing it.
"It was a wide open highway-type course. It included two roundabouts and a couple corners. That's it. It was really simple in that sense. The wind was a bit difficult going out, and the downhill sections were super fast. It's definitely a course made for me."
Stage one winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished in 47th spot, 2-07 behind Tuft.
Kwiatkowski's third spot was enough to propel him into the overall lead with three stages remaining of the UCI 2.1-ranked event. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) is chasing him in second place at 23 seconds.
Another notable performance was that of Grand Tour contender Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who placed fourth and beating strong time triallists such as van Garderen and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).
The 2013 Tour de San Luis concludes on Sunday, January 27.
Tour de San Luis 2013, stage four: San Luis to San Luis, 19.2km ITT
1. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge in 22-14
2. Leandro Messineo (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 7 secs
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 11 secs
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 14 secs
5. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 19 secs
6. Jorge Giacinti (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 26 secs
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 33 secs
8. Eloy Teruel (Spa) Movistar at 34 secs
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 47 secs
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 52 secs
Overall classification after stage four
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 23 secs
3. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 42 secs
4. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest at 45 secs
5. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 54 secs
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1-10
7. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 1-12
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at same time
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1-24
10. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at same time
Stage winner Svein Tuft
Michal Kwiatkowski moves into the race lead
Tour de San Luis 2013: Related links
Stage three: Alex Diniz wins
Stage two: Mark Cavendish pipped by Sacha Modolo in San Luis
Stage one: Perfect start for Mark Cavendish in San Luis
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