Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) was victorious in his home country today when the 23-year-old won stage 1 of Colombia Oro y Paz in Palmira.
The prodigious sprinter capitalised on the excellent work of his teammates and sprinted to his 25th career victory, and it was also the ninth consecutive stage race in which he clocked up a win.
Two weeks after crashing out of the fourth stage of Vuelta a San Juan, Gaviria showed he’s made a full recovery after the injuries he picked up in Argentina, on a fast and hectic day.
Gaviria managed to avoid a late crash with Nairo and Dayer Quintana amongst the riders to come down. Gaviria’s team mates Maximiliano Richeze and Alvaro Hodeg then split the bunch thanks to a fierce tempo with one kilometre to go, riding almost everyone off their wheel and leaving Gaviria in a perfect position.
The Colombian took a comfortable win in Palmira, beating fellow countryman Sebastian Molano (Manzana Postobon), with Richeze taking third. So dominant and ruthless was the Quick-Step Floors train, that neo-pro Alvaro Hodeg finished fifth on the stage, despite easing up to celebrate Fernando’s victory.
“It’s special to be here, in my home country,” said Gaviria who also took the leader’s jersey. “The public was so warm and gave us an amazing welcome, not only today, but ever since the team has arrived here. I am happy that such a race is organized in Colombia, and even happier that I won, because taking a victory here is completely different than taking one in Europe.”
“The guys did a great job once again and all I had to do was finish it off. I really liked today’s circuit, it was the perfect way to start this race, getting the rhythm in the legs and being surrounded by all these fantastic fans. I am also very glad to lead the race, and even though I know that I won’t keep the jersey until the end, I still want to enjoy and sport it with pride over the next days.”