sport

Diniz stuns big names

Brazil's Alex Diniz upstaged his big-name rivals to claim victory on stage three of the Tour de San Luis with a solo attack on the final climb.

The 27-year-old Funvic Brasilinvest rider darted off the front of the peloton as it ascended to the summit finish at Mirador del Potrero and crossed the line 24 seconds ahead of Italy's Mauro Santambrogio (BMC) in second place.

Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) was third, but Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), who was one of the pre-race favourites, saw his lack of early-season fitness exposed and could only finish 13th, 48 seconds back.

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who lost two minutes 43 seconds on stage two, was once again a long way off the pace and finished way down the field.

Diniz, who was suspended for two years in 2009 after testing positive for EPO, now assumes overall leadership of the race.

The first mountain stage of the Tour de San Luis took the riders 174km from La Punta to Mirador del Potrero and up two category-one climbs.

The first, Alto de Nogoli, is 25km long and topped out at 2,084m after 90km, while the ascent to the summit finish averaged 6.7 per cent in gradient over 4.8km.

A seven-man group - containing mainly local riders but also Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) - formed an early breakaway and opened up a gap of over six minutes on the main bunch.

However, they were unable to sustain their numbers and, after three men dropped off, the four surviving members were caught with 30km to go.

A second break saw two riders pull out an advantage of over one minute, but they too were soon reeled back in as the peloton approached the concluding climb.

All eyes were on the likes of Contador and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), but instead it was Diniz who made the decisive move and, in doing so, took control of the race.