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"I've seen the route, the hardest parts, the Cipressa and the Poggio. It's a race I like because it's demanding, it's long. So I want to do it as part of my development and to be in a big classic,"  Gaviria said

Photo: Tim De Waele

FERNANDO GAVIRIA

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - TRACK

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06.03.2016 @ 12:23 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

A fantastic, aggressive ride in the points race helped the young Colombian become the first rider to take back-to-back championship titles in men's omnium by the narrowest possible margin. Gaviria not only impressed with his insane accelerations, but also proved his maturity and intelligence, turning a tactically complicated affair into his advantage.

 

"This jersey gives me great pride, being able to repeat it, two years on the run is something amazing," Gaviria said, according to Cyclingnews. "It was an epic battle. The riders went all out. Everyone was really strong, and it's a great honour to retain the title.”

 

Fernando Gaviria was a man on a mission on Saturday evening, in the Lee Valley VeloPark: lying in second overall, 14 points behind general classification leader Elia Viviani (Italy), the 21-year-old knew he had to attack and be aggressive in the 40 km-long points race in order to successfully defend the gold medal won in 2015, in Yvelines (France). At the start, many thought it was going to be only about the two of them, but as the race progressed, Roger Kluge (Germany) and Glenn O'Shea (Australia) came in the mix as well, after taking two laps on the field, which brought them 40 points each.

 

The race was nail-biting to the very end, with Gaviria going for the sprint points and making sure he marks closely his rivals, who were becoming more and more dangerous. With just a couple of laps left, the Etixx – Quick-Step rider, Kluge and O'Shea were on even points (191), and the last sprint was expected to make the difference, which eventually happened: there, thanks to his huge burst of speed, Fernando captured a superior finishing position and took the gold medal home.

 

"I'm a bit crazy, I don't think much about the race and try to do it as well as possible, to be as calm as possible not to commit silly errors that at my age would be normal to make."

 

"It was a difficult race, it was an aggressive one. At the end the legs were good, the German [Kluge] was close at the end but I was able to get past him at the end and crown myself champion."

 

Gaviria – who came in the United Kingdom following a solid Tour La Provence, where he claimed a stage and the points classification – had a solid display in the two-day event, before going on to seal the overall standings and become the first rider in history to win the Omnium event twice at the World Championships.

 

The omnium event didn't start well for the 21-year-old Colombian, though, as after a nervous start he managed only 10th in the scratch race. Being aware that his weakness in the flying lap competition most likely would cost him more points, the Etixx – Quick-Step rider managed to recompose himself enough to win the individual pursuit and the elimination race and narrowly lose the 1km time trial to Lasse Norman Hansen.

 

"The Omnium started badly for me. I started with fear, with nerves about getting caught up in a crash – I didn't want the same thing as last year to happen," he explained. "But then we were able to make the most of the strength I had in my legs, and take another victory."

 

Two back-to-back victories in men's omnium would make Gaviria the biggest favourite to take gold in Rio, but the 21-year-old Colombian prefers to focus on the less distant objectives. He will participate in Tirreno-Adriatico next week before lining up at Milano-Sanremo, where – as he admitted – his goal would be finishing the race.

 

"The seasons's going well, we've started really well and let's hope we keep improving. Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, and the Belgian Classics," said Gaviria.

 

"I've seen the route, the hardest parts, the Cipressa and the Poggio. It's a race I like because it's demanding, it's long. So I want to do it as part of my development and to be in a big classic."  

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