Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) put in a devastating sprint at the end of today’s 195-kilometre fourth stage of the Tour de France between La Baule and Sarzeau which saw him beat Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).
“To take two stages at my first Tour de France is just… Wow!” said Gaviria. “It wasn’t easy at all, but we came here in very good condition, keen on leaving our mark on this great race, and thanks to the fantastic work of the entire team we have reasons to smile and be happy, but we don’t want to stop here and will remain focus for what’s to come.”
Four riders – Jérôme Cousin (Direct Energie), Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Dimitri Claeys and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) – got clear of the bunch early and established a seven-minute advantage, while Quick-Step Floors duly moved to the front of the pack with Tim Declercq and Niki Terpstra, doing the bulk of the work and bringing the gap down to two minutes inside the last 20 kilometres.
On paper, the chasers shouldn’t have had any problems in nullifying that move, but a strong tailwind played into the escapees’ advantage, who rode for dear life on the narrow roads of Morbihan.
Quick-Step Floors were joined in the chase by other teams only with ten kilometres left, and despite the scrappy finish and the road going up in the last kilometre, always maintained its position at the front. Gaviria confidently opened his sprint from the middle of the road, and despite being briefly surpassed by Greipel, he found that second kick to notch up the victory.
“It was difficult today, because the breakaway really pushed us, as we were the ones working the most at the front. We also had some headwind and that uphill drag, but Max (Richeze) was unbelievable, he knows when it’s the right time to go to the front and did again a perfect lead-out”, said Gaviria. “We’re more than a team, we are a family, always believing in our chances and riding for each other.”