Gaimon starts big in San Luis.

 

Gaimon stuns everyone in Argentina.

Gaimon stuns everyone in Argentina.

 

Phil Gaimon won the Tour de Phil and then in his first race at the WorldTour level for his new Garmin-Sharp squad, he won the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis.

That’s a storybook start for Gaimon who rode last year for the US domestic Continental team Bissell. New recruits at Argyle Army already delivering goods.

After he signed with Garmin, new boss Jonathan Vaughters suggested a three week block of intense work in the 300-360 watt range to get him ready for the high demands of riding the biggest races.

Evidently, the Tour de Phil — as Gaimon coined it — was a raging success. In the first stage in Argentina from San Luis to Villa Mercedes, the 27 year old rider jumped into the breakaway and in searing heat managed to drop his rivals to win solo and take the leader’s jersey.

While his fine efforts in the inaugural Tour de Phil did not yield any UCI points or podium kisses, Gaimon is now off to a flying start.

Gaimon is the kind of rider that Jonathan Vaughters prizes: talented, insanely self-motivated and hilarious. Last season, Gaimon had a regular column in Velonews filled with his amusing race stories and insights. With the comedic hole left by the retirement of Dave Zabriskie, Gaimon will keep the laughs coming.

After those three weeks riding the Tour de Phil in California all by his lonesome, Gaimon how finds himself in the spotlight in South America. ”Chann [McRae, sports director] thought it might be work for me to go in the break because the big teams don’t know who I am,” said Gaimon. “That plan worked like a charm. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be wearing the yellow jersey here. Unless I wake up and everything is a dream, a la the Wizard of Oz, I will fight to bring it home for the team.”

Perhaps Gaimon will now cement an off-season Tour de Phil as mandatory preparation for riding at the WorldTour level. It sure worked this time around.

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