Tour de Suisse: Second for Gaviria in Frauenfeld
The prodigious Colombian came close to his maiden stage victory at the eight-decade old stage race.
Quick-Step Floors were again in the thick of the action at the Tour de Suisse, twenty-four hours after finishing on the podium in the TTT. This time, our squad went all in for Fernando Gaviria on stage 2, which comprised four laps of a hilly and challenging circuit in Frauenfeld, for a total of 155 kilometers.
Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport) and Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) got clear early, just as the road was rising, and put two minutes between them and the peloton, where Tim Declercq did an amazing job, setting a steady tempo which he managed to maintain even after Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott) attacked on the penultimate circuit, bridging to the leading trio.
With 25 kilometers remaining, the escapees were reeled in, but attacks continued to come thick and fast, as several riders were keen on preventing the stage from coming down to a bunch gallop. For safe measure, Quick-Step Floors infiltrated Maximiliano Richeze – the only Argentinian to have won a distinctive jersey at the Tour de Suisse, back in 2016 – in one of these late moves, forcing other squads to close the nine-second gap.
Everything came back together inside the last seven kilometers and Quick-Step Floors began assembling the sprint train – who couldn't count on Philippe Gilbert, delayed by a mechanical – for Fernando Gaviria. The 23-year-old, who came here after an altitude camp following a very successful Tour of California, hit out early and looked poised to get his first victory in the race, only to be denied by Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) in the final meters.
"The stage was hard and very fast, and we had some bad luck when we lost Philippe due to a mechanical. Yves did an amazing job, but it wasn't easy in that frantic final, and I made a mistake by opening a sprint too early. However, I'm happy with my condition and remain confident that other opportunities will arrive", Fernando explained after the stage.
After two stages, Enric Mas is the highest placed Quick-Step Floors rider in the general classification, courtesy of our team's impressive time trial on Saturday. The 23-year-old Spaniard, who earlier this season soloed to his maiden pro victory, sits in 11th place ahead of the hilly stage 3 between Oberstammheim and Gansingen.
Photo credit: ©Heinz Zwicky/ Getty Images