In Fernando Gaviria’s thoughts, there was once just one transparent shot at glory in this Excursion Colombia. In a race deep within the middle of mountain nation, the flat, opening leg to Duitama supplied the one company ensure for the quick males.
Small marvel, then, that the finale to degree 1 was once so frantic. Mark Cavendish‘s Astana-Qazaqstan teach did their absolute best to take keep watch over within the rain-slicked ultimate kilometre, however they had been swamped inside of sight of the road. Even supposing Cavendish and corporate spent the previous 3 weeks coaching at altitude, the results of competing at 2,500 metres above sea point had been without a doubt nonetheless an element right here.
Gaviria, born and raised at altitude in Le Ceya, indubitably had no bother gauging his effort at the identical completing instantly the place Abraham Olano claimed the rainbow jersey in 1995. The Colombian tripped evenly from wheel to wheel within the finale, in the end monitoring Davide Persico (WB-Bingoal) after which overpowering the Italian within the last 100 metres.
Persico controlled to get himself reasonably hemmed in by way of the boundaries and he raised a hand in protest as he crossed the road, however there was once no compelling explanation why for the commissaires to revise the outcome. Gaviria held his line and, crucially, his pace to say the primary yellow jersey of the race. Persico took 2nd, whilst Cavendish sprinted to 3rd.
“It isn’t that I did it on function. I wasn’t looking to shut you off,” Gaviria instructed Persico past the end line.
It was once much less an apology than a easy remark of truth. It was once merely that roughly dash. Gaviria discovered an opening and he had the velocity to hold it house.
“It was once overall chaos,” Gaviria mentioned when he took a seat in RCN‘s studio past the end line. “With 2k to head, we had been a ways again. However then I discovered an opening and I began passing and passing… When the dash began, I mentioned to myself I simply needed to opt for it. I feel Astana went reasonably early, however in spite of everything, I used to be ready to do a excellent dash.”
On leaving the beginning in Paipa, the outlet hour of the degree was once run off at a searing 48 kph, however Gaviria wasn’t fazed by way of that early tempo.
“It was once a peaceful degree, smartly managed by way of each Astana and Movistar,” he shrugged within the blended zone afterwards. When Gaviria took a seat within the press tent an hour or so later, he added that he and Cavendish had struck an settlement to stay the damage’s lead inside of a minute or so.
“I spoke about it with Mark previously, we determined that we could not give the damage a large number of area as of late,” mentioned Gaviria. He was once later held up by way of a crash with 50km or so final, however the incident did not anything to knock him off his stride.
Any other rapid get started
Even so, Gaviria confessed to a couple doubts earlier than arriving at this Excursion Colombia to begin his 2nd season in Movistar blue. His first time period with Eusebio Unzué’s staff had began on an upbeat be aware with a degree win on the Vuelta a San Juan, however the marketing campaign yielded just one extra win, on the Excursion de Romandie, and he raced sparingly after drawing a clean on the Giro d’Italia. He returned to Colombia over the iciness to start out in all places once more.
“In truth that earlier than I were given right here, I had my doubts as a result of my preparation was once tricky,” Gaviria mentioned. “However I did have excellent numbers when I used to be doing sprints in coaching, so I knew I may nonetheless be aggressive. And I knew this was once the one alternative actually for the reason that phases get started getting more difficult from right here on. There are phases that go well with the damage, arduous to keep watch over, so we are already pleased with this.”
For Gaviria, an early victory on South American roads turns out virtually de rigueur. He has now claimed a dash win at his first degree race of the season in 8 of the previous 10 years. The exceptions had been in 2021 and 2022, when the COVID-19 pandemic averted top-level racing in Colombia and Argentina, compelling him to begin his marketing campaign unsuccessfully in other places.
Gaviria will hope this newest triumph is an omen for the yr forward reasonably than a false daybreak. For the remainder of the week, in the meantime, his position is to paintings reasonably than to win. Nairo Quintana and Ivan Sosa will come to the fore for Movistar at the uphill finale to Santa Rosa de Viterbo on degree 2.
“I have were given the yellow jersey now, however actually, I’ll have to place at the gregario’s jersey any more, as a result of lots of the remainder of the phases are too arduous for me,” mentioned Gaviria. “I’m going to be returning the favour to my teammates.”