Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) increased his overall lead at the inaugural edition of Colombia Oro y Paz after winning the 163-kilometre third stage from Palmira to Buga and therefore completing a hat-trick of wins. The Colombian beat Matteo Malucelli (Androni – Sidermec – Bottecchia) and Juan Sebastian Molano (Manzana Postobon) in the sprint finish.
After chasing down the five-man break that animated the 163km-long stage from the outset, the well-drilled Quick-Step Floors sprint train moved away from the spotlight for a brief period of time, before storming to the front in the closing three kilometres where Gaviria sprinted across the line victorious.
“I worked hard during the winter and had a very good preparation, that’s the reason why I’m here today, enjoying all these wins,” a happy Gaviria said after the stage. “In San Juan I suffered a setback, but fortunately it wasn’t too serious and I could return here, in front of my family and these unbelievable fans, to whom I want to say a big thank you! Colombia proved that it can organise an international race and I’m proud to have been here for this first edition.”
Already one of cycling’s brightest stars, the young South American boasts an outstanding string of results in the last nine bunch sprints he was involved in – at the Tour of Guangxi, Vuelta a San Juan and Colombia Oro y Paz – taking eight victories (half of which came at World Tour level) and a runner-up spot, which confirm his prowess and remarkable talent.
“The team was again fantastic, hats off to the way they controlled the stage and helped me claim another beautiful win. I get to sport the pink jersey for one more day, but tomorrow it will be all about returning the service to my teammates and helping them on this first mountain stage as much as I can”, said Gaviria after the stage which saw him keep all three distinctive jerseys and Quick-Step Floors retain its lead in the team standings.