Fernando Gaviria sprinted to victory on the opening stage of the inaugural Tour of Guangxi today, the last World Tour race of the year. It means the Colombian has scored at least one victory in every stage race he rode this year – Vuelta a San Juan, Volta ao Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico, Giro d’Italia, Tour of Britain and now Guangxi.
The opening day of the event featured a four-man breakaway from the start, which included also Quick-Step Floors’ Rémi Cavagna, and the 22-year-old Frenchman attacked after the last intermediate sprint, extending his lead to one minute.
On the stage’s sole classified climb, Cavagna was joined from the peloton by Jonathan Lastras (Caja Rural) and the duo managed to keep the chasers at bay until the three kilometres to go mark, where they were reabsorbed by the pack. That was the cue for the Quick-Step Floors train to move towards the front of the charging bunch and bring Gaviria into a good position for the sprint in Beihai.
“The original plan was to put some pressure on the sprinters’ teams, so when Dillier attacked I jumped and followed him. Then, as I was feeling very good and strong, I decided to go solo and just see what happens. I increased my gap over the peloton, but the wind and wide roads made it impossible to go all the way to the line. Despite that, I’m happy with my form and with how I felt today”, said Cavagna, the most aggressive rider of the stage and also the first rider to lead the KOM standings at the Chinese race.
Brimming with confidence after a solid final part of the season, which saw him claim victories at the Tour of Britain and the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, Gaviria left it late and kicked out with only 100 metres to go, sailing from the right side of the road past Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) en route to claiming his first ever victory in Asia, and with it, the leader’s jersey in the Tour of Guangxi.
“We had only 100 kilometres on the menu today, but it was a very difficult stage, because of the wind and the speed in the bunch. The break wasn’t large and luckily we had Rémi there, who proved just how strong he was, getting caught only in the final kilometres”, said Gaviria.
“My teammates did again a great job and I’m glad I could repay them with this victory. It’s always nice to win a race, especially a World Tour one, and I’m happy to have added another win to the team’s remarkable haul of successes this season.”