Fernando Gaviria claimed his third stage victory on the final day of the Tour of California after a nail-biting sprint, which saw the 23-year-old beat Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) with a perfectly-timed bike throw over the line in downtown Sacramento.
Sacramento welcomed the peloton for the tenth time since the race’s inception, with a circuit around Capitol Park, where the sprinters battled it out after the original four-man break had been caught inside the last five kilometres, on the local circuit.
Quick-Step Floors’ lead-out train took the front with two kilometres to go, and Gaviria hit out early, and despite his rivals gaining ground in the closing metres, he had enough to hold them off for the team’s 33rd victory of the season.
“I couldn’t be happier! When I came into the race I wasn’t thinking of winning all three flat stages, so now that I’ve done it, I am super delighted. The green jersey wasn’t a goal at the start, but it came along with the three victories, and it’s a nice bonus after what has been a hard and challenging race.”
The prodigious Colombian – whose next appointment will be the Tour de Suisse in June – had only words of praise for his teammates, who led him to a clean sweep of the bunch sprints at the US World Tour race: “My team was magnificent! They helped me every time, chasing the escapees, protecting me and delivering a perfect lead-out. All my results couldn’t have been possible without this team and it makes me proud to have such remarkable and dedicated guys by my side.”
Egan Bernal (Team Sky) finished safely in the bunch to claim the overall victory, by 1’25” ahead of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) with Daniel Martinez (Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) in third at 2’14”.