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"I'll have a mixed program of road and track."

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele

FERNANDO GAVIRIA

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04.01.2016 @ 17:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In the 2015 Tour de San Luis, a star was born. His name is Fernando Gaviria and he now defends the colors of Etixx-Quick Step but when he stunned the world a year ago, it was in the jersey of the Colombian national team.

 

Son of a former cyclist and brother of Julian, one of the best track riders from the American continent, Gaviria turned up in San Luis with a nice palmares. He had twice been World Champion on the track in the junior category and winner of the Pan American Games on the road but in Argentina he surpassd his past achievements by winning in Villa Mercedes and Juana Koslay, beating no less of a figure than Mark Cavendish. The first win could be a fluke but the second ...

 

The Etixx-Quick Step team didn't hesitate and in August, after being crowned world champion in one of his specialties, the Omnium of the he debuted with Patrick Lefevere's team with a stage win in the Czech Cycling Tour. A little later he beat Greipel and Boasson Hagen in the fourth stage of the Tour of Britain. A knee injury, however, forced him to abandon the race and it also prevented him from participating in the World Championships in Richmond.

 

Because of that problem, Gaviria has not competed since September. He had time, however, to recover, rest and to pick up the pace. "It was a very special race," he says in a press release about the Tour de San Luis while also thinking about the next edition. "I beat Cavendish twice," he continues. "Beating a rider like him in front of the whole world masde me famous. They were two different victories, but both ahead of a great champion. I have very good memories."

 

With this background, the Colombian will be the sprinter to beat in the 10th edition of the Tour de San Luis this year. "I try to get in good condition and want to win," he warns. "But it's never easy, I'm young and I still have much to learn," he adds with humility, trying to take some of the pressure off. "The team wants to make a program where I can be regular, avoiding the risks. I have to start slowly," he explains, referring to his young age of just 21 years. "I'll have a mixed program of road and track," he continues as he will be one of the favourites for the Omnium at the Olympics in Rio.

 

Despite wearing the  Etixx-Quick Step colours since August, Gaviria has not yet debuted in the WorldTour. "Not yet, but I have faced riders like Greipel whom I have always admired on TV." Cavendish was his teammate but will again be a rival in 2016. "To beat him is something I will never forget."

 

In addition to Gaviria, Etixx-Quick Step will also go to the race with Rodrigo Contreras, the Colombian was fifth overall in 2015 at just 20 years of age.

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