Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) made it two stage wins in a row at the Tour of Guangxi, this time in Nanning, where the 23-year-old outsprinted Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) and Wouter Wippert (Cannondale-Drapac) on a slightly uphill finish to keep hold of his red jersey, five seconds clear of Silvan Dillier (BMC).
The 156.7-kilometre stage which started in Qinzhou – a small town on the Gulf of Tonkin – got off to a furious start, as several riders fought to book a place in the day’s escape. A break formed only after the first intermediate sprint, 25 kilometres into the stage, but the attackers weren’t allowed too much space, with the sprinters aware they couldn’t miss their second opportunity at this final World Tour race of the season.
With five kilometres left, as the men in the lead got reeled in, the blue Quick-Step Floors train emerged and piloted Fernando Gaviria into a perfect position, from which the Giro d’Italia maglia ciclamino kicked off his powerful acceleration, some 200 metres from the line, to notch up his 12th victory of a season in which he really came of age, with wins across three continents and six different countries.
Gaviria – who leads also the points and youth classifications – was delighted after coming out on top for the second consecutive stage at the Tour of Guangxi: “The guys were great once again, protecting me throughout the day and making the difference in the final, so this win is for them. A big shout out goes to Martin Velits, who is retiring after this race and continued to work hard for me.
“It was harder than yesterday, with a crazy last kilometre and a longer and tougher sprint this time on an uphill drag, so having won in these conditions makes me very happy. Four more stages are left in the store and the plan is to take everything day by day, looking for other opportunities and helping the team conclude the season on a high.”