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Having joined a 10-rider group that escaped in the crosswinds, Gaviria beat Franczak and Schorn in the sprint on the second stage of the Czech Cycling Tour; the Colombian took the leader’s jersey

FERNANDO GAVIRIA

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14.08.2015 @ 19:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fernando Gaviria confirmed that he is destined for a big future in professional cycling when he took his first win as an Etixx-QuickStep rider in the second stage of the Czech Cycling Tour. The Colombian joined a 10-rider group that escaped in the crosswinds and beat Pawel Franczak (Activejet) and Daniel Schorn (Bora-Argon 18) in the sprint to take both the stage win and the leader’s jersey.

 

In January, Fernando Gaviria got lots of attention when he managed to beat Mark Cavendish twice in the Tour de San Luis. Etixx-QuickStep reacted quickly by offering a contract and he will be with the Belgian team in 2016.

 

In the second half of this season, he has got his first taste of professional racing as a stagiaire with his future employer. He impressed in his debut at the RideLondo Classic where he was part of the strong break that decided the race and this week he is back in action at the Czech Cycling Tour.

 

After winning yesterday’s team time trial, Gaviria confirmed his big potential by coming out on top in today’s first road stage of the race. In a crosswinds drama, he was part of a 10-rider group that decided the stage and unsurprisingly he was the fastest in the sprint.

 

It was Jo Piels who had taken the initiative to split the field but when the dust had settled, the Dutch team no riders in the 10-rider group that emerged. Unsurprisingly, Etixx-QuickStep were the dominant force as they has Gaviria, race leader Zdenek Stybar, Petr Vakoc and Pieter Serry in the group while Jan Barta and Daniel Schorn were there for Bora-Argon 18. The rest of the group was made up of Alois Kankovsky, Fabian Schlegel, Erik Baska and Pawel Franczak. The notable absentee was Leopold König (Czech national team) who ended the stage with a time loss of almost four minutes and dropped out of GC contention.

 

CCC Sprandi were chasing hard in the peloton but they would never make it back. With four riders in the group, Etixx-QuicStep were able to set Gaviria up for the sprint where he easily beat Franczak and Schorn into the minor positions.

 

With the win, Gaviria also takes the leader’s jersey which he will try to defend in tomorrow’s queen stage. After a relatively easy start, it is up or down almost all day and the stage ends with three laps of a tough finishing circuit that contains a solid climb and a downhill run to the finish.

 

A flat stage

After the opening team time trial, the sprinters were expected to shine in stage  2 which brought the riders over 178km from Olomuc to Unicov. With one climb on the menu and three laps of a flat finishing circuit, the stage was likely to come down to a bunch sprint.

 

It was another very hot day in the Czech Republic when the riders gathered for the start. Matthias Krizek (Felbermayr) launched an immediate attack but with strong winds creating lots of nervousness, no one managed to get clear.

 

The break takes off

Finally, Alexis Guerin (AWT), Joey van Rhee (Joe Piels), Christian Lund (Coloquick) and Josef Hosek (Whirlpool) managed to get clear. Sebastian Stamegna (GM) and Dries Hollanders (Metec) tried to bridge the gap but they would never make it as Hollanders was the first to sit up.

 

Van Rhee won the first intermediate sprint while Etixx-Quickstep took control in the peloton with Lukasz Wisniowski and Rodrigo Contreras. Up the road, Hosek suffered a puncture but the group waited for him.

 

Etixx-QuickStep in control

After an hour of racing, Stamegna was 2.05 behind while the peloton was at 4.20. Moments later, Lund won the next intermediate sprint.

 

With 50km to go, the chaser was caught and Wisniowski and Contreras kept the gap at four minutes. They had allowed it to go out to six minutes when Guerin won the next sprint.

 

Bonus seconds for Stybar

Zdenek Stybar made it back to the peloton after a puncture while Lund was dropped from the front group on the climb. Van Rhee also had to surrender before Guerin led Hosek over the top.

 

The front duo now only had an advantage of 3 minutes as they entered the final 45km and it was now Amore e Vita leading the chase. Meanwhile, Stybar sprinted ahead to take third in the final intermediate sprint.

 

The peloton splits

Jo Piels tried to split the peloton in the crosswinds and the effort paid off as a small group got clear. The injection of pace prompted Hosek and Guerin to wait for the group.

 

The riders in the main group worked well together to increase their advantage over the peloton which included Leopold König. The latter tried to bridge the gap alongside a few riders and got to within 15 seconds before he gave up.

 

With 2 laps of the 10km finishing circuit left, the gap was 58 seconds while the front group had been whittled down to just 10 riders. They stayed clear do decide the stage in a sprint where Gaviria came out on top.

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