Tour of California opens with win for Gaviria
May 14 2018 06:49 am CET

Tour of California opens with win for Gaviria
Tour of California opens with win for Gaviria
Photo of Fernando Gaviria (c) Sigfrid Eggers

The first stage in the Tour of California has been won by Fernando Gaviria. The Quick-Step rider won a royal group sprint in which he was faster than Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan. With this victory the Colombian sprinter also took the first yellow jersey.

The opener of the Tour of California was set in Long Beach. Here the riders had to cover 12 laps on a completely flat local circuit of a little over 11 kilometres (7 miles). In total the stage was 134.5 km (84 miles) long. With half of the peloton's top sprinters present, a bunch sprint seemed unavoidable.

Still, two riders broke clear in the beginning of the stage. Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare) and Andrei Krasilnikau (Holowesko-Citadel) never got a big advantage. The peloton led by the sprinters' teams kept the gap at around two minutes, not wanting to risk any miscalculation in this first stage. Most of the work was done by Quick-Step (Gaviria), Mitchelton-Scott (Ewan) and Katusha (Marcel Kittel).

There were two intermediate sprints on the road. Putt won both of them, ahead of his breakaway companion Krasilnikau. In the peloton there was a fight for the remaining points, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) won the sprint of the peloton the first time, while José Álvaro Hodeg (Quick Step Floors) took the leftovers in the second sprint.

With nothing left on the road but the finish line, the peloton stopped controlling and started to reduce the advantage. Preparations were being made for a royal sprint and, as well as the aforementioned teams, Bora-Hansgrohe (Sagan), UAE-Emirates (Alexander Kristoff), Sunweb (Max Walscheid) and EF Education First (Dan McLay) could be seen at the front.

With one lap to go the gap between the break and the group was only 15 seconds. The sprint trains started lining up and the gap shrank quickly. Krasilnikau left behind his companion but his effort was hopeless. The peloton led by Quick-Step reeled him back in as the sprinters were put into position.

Team after team took over the lead of the peloton in the final lap, but none of them could keep the position. In the final 2 kilometres Quick step took over, bringing Gaviria to the front. They led the peloton to the finish line where Gaviria beat Ewan and Sagan. The Colombian is also the first leader in the race. For the young sprinter this is already his 5th season victory, and the 30th for his Quick-Step team.

By Siebe Kok




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