Fernando Gaviria lands Quick-Step Floors’ 50th victory of the year
Protected and guided by a fantastic team, the 23-year-old became the first South American rider to win Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen.
For the sixth year running, Quick-Step Floors have amassed 50 UCI victories, the first team to do this during the current season. Jack Bauer was the one to kick off the party early in January, at the New Zealand National ITT Championships, and since then, 13 of the team's riders have joined him on the winners' list, putting Quick-Step Floors at the top in Classics, week-long stage races and Grand Tours.
Fernando Gaviria is one of these riders, the prodigious Colombian who took the Giro d'Italia by storm in May, where he nabbed four stages and the coveted maglia ciclamino. Gaviria, who was forced to miss this summer's races through injury, has returned to action for only a few weeks now and slowly began building his form for the World Championships in Bergen, with the signs so far being very encouraging for the 23-year-old's prospects.
After notching up a stage at the Tour of Britain last week, Fernando added another victory to his palmares, this time at the 102nd edition of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, where he benefited from the help of a well-oiled Quick-Step Floors team, who controlled the race from its dawn, keeping a constant eye on the escapees and bringing them back in the second-to-last lap.
In the final kilometers, several riders tried to escape from Quick-Step Floors' clutches, but it was to no avail, as our riders shut down every move with remarkable ease and assembled an impressive lead-out train which delivered the Colombian in a perfect position to unleash his devastating sprint, one that netted the team's 50th victory of the season.
Gaviria – who beat Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal) – was all smiles at the finish in Koolskamp, acknowledging that this success augurs well before going to Norway, where he'll make his second World Championships outing.
I am extremely happy to win here, it means a lot to me to take my tenth victory of the season and to have this sensations ahead of the World Championships in Bergen!
"I'm really looking forward to that race; it will be very hard, also because of the weather, but I'm going there in good condition and very confident after this success, for which I want to thank my teammates, who put in a fantastic collective performance", said the first South American winner of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, who on Saturday will line out for Primus Classic, where he triumphed last season.
Sport director Rik van Slycke – himself a winner of the Belgian race in the '90s – was emotional at the finish line, and the reasons were obvious: "Today was a really special day for me, because it's exactly 25 years ago that I won this race. To win with the team again, 25 years later, it's just perfect. Without any strong winds to split the field, the tactic was to have all the guys there for the final and we executed the plan perfectly by controlling the race the whole day and bringing back the escapees. The lead-out was a textbook one and Gaviria finished it off by scoring the team's 50th win of 2017. We are really happy and satisfied with how we raced."
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