Colombia Oro y Paz: Gaviria wins the points jersey
Quick-Step Floors' 23-year-old rider capped off an excellent week at his home race, which Julian Alaphilippe and Jhonatan Naravez concluded in the top 10 overall.
Fernando Gaviria arrived alone at the top of Manizales, the 17.8km-long climb that brought the inaugural Colombia Oro y Paz to a conclusion, tired and gasping for air, but was met with warmth, cheers and huge applause from his countrymen, all impressed by the way he honoured the race on the last day, which totally lived up to its billing.
Despite having the points jersey in the bag, the Colombian decided to join a 33-man break instead of taking it easy on stage 6, fought for the intermediate sprints and even attacked at the bottom of the last ascent, dropping everyone and staying at the front for over a kilometer, before being caught by the elite group, from which – with two kilometers remaining – Dayer Quintana (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky) powered away, the former taking the stage win and the latter pulling off the victory in the general classification.
Already one of the most successful riders of this season, with four wins from as many sprints contested, Fernando headed onto the podium at the finish, to collect the points classification jersey, the cherry on the cake of what has been an excellent week for him and Quick-Step Floors.
"We came here to take a victory, but we are going home with four and this beautiful jersey. The team showed again unity and worked hard for these results. There's a reason why we are called the Wolfpack. The past two days have been hard for me, but nevertheless, I went into the break and got some workload ahead of my next appointments", said Fernando, who was overwhelmed by the amazing atmosphere created by his countrymen, who had turned the start and finish of each stage into one huge stadium.
"The public was fantastic, I can't find the words to tell you how much it means to see them cheering for me and chanting my name. The Colombians love cycling and are very passionate about it, and I'm extremely happy that the entire world got to see that. I can't wait to return here next year, especially as the race will take place in my home region of Antioquia", continued Fernando, who also revealed his next race. "From here, I'm going to Europe for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. I am really excited about making my debut there."
Quick-Step Floors was a strong presence also in the general classification of Colombia Oro y Paz, where stage 4 victor Julian Alaphilippe finished seventh (only European rider to make his way into the top 10), while Ecuadorian Champion Jhonatan Narvaez – an important rider in our set-up both on the flat and mountains – got his first top 10 overall since turning pro last month.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images