2018 Best Moments: Gaviria’s stellar Tour de France debut
Quick-Step Floors have enjoyed a record-breaking year, with 73 UCI wins scored by 14 riders in 22 countries. Over the next weeks we will look back on the 10 biggest moments for the team, one of which was stage 1 of the 105th Grande Boucle.
First day in the Tour de France. First ever stage victory. First yellow jersey. Fernando Gaviria couldn't have dreamed of a more memorable debut on cycling's biggest stage, in Fontenay-le-Comte, where the nervous opening stage concluded with the Colombian taking the plaudits.
Benefiting from a superb lead-out train provided by his flawless Quick-Step Floors teammates, the 23-year-old navigated through the chaotic and crash-marred final kilometers, kicking out with just over 250 meters to go, as soon as Max Richeze left him at the front in complete command of the sprint, after expertly stretching out the peloton and bringing Gaviria in a perfect position, from which he couldn't miss, despite a tricky uphill drag to the line.
Fernando, who was making just his second Grand Tour appearance following the 2017 Giro d'Italia – where he had won four stages and the maglia ciclamino – massively outgunned Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) on his way to writing a small page of history for Colombia, which celebrated its second yellow jersey at the Tour de France, after the one of Victor Hugo Peña, back in 2003.
"Looking back, I must admit that I was thinking of the victory, but to claim also the yellow jersey on that day was a dream", said Gaviria, the first Tour de France debutant in more than a decade to win the opening stage of Le Tour. "I seized the day and managed to turn that dream into reality thanks to the beautiful and relentless work of all my teammates, who rode their heart out for me. That's why the win wasn't just mine, but of the entire team."
"Being the first stage of the Tour de France, it was pretty stressful out there, but the guys perfectly organized themselves, kept me protected and overcame all the obstacles, be it crosswinds, crashes or roundabouts, which came thick and fast in the final kilometers. Their work and the strong legs I had helped me beat all the other riders and take a yellow jersey Colombia had been waiting for 15 years. Wearing it, even for a day, is something I will always remember and cherish", concluded Fernando Gaviria, the fifth rider in the history of Quick-Step Floors to pull on the Tour de France yellow jersey.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images