CyclingPub Interview - Fernando Gaviria: I dream of wearing the leader's jersey at the Vuelta
Jan 26 2020 11:14 pm CET

CyclingPub Interview - Fernando Gaviria: I dream of wearing the leader's jersey at the Vuelta
CyclingPub Interview - Fernando Gaviria: I dream of wearing the leader's jersey at the Vuelta
Photo of Fernando Gaviria by UAE-Team Emirates

During the off-season, CyclingPub attended the media day of UAE Team Emirates, where it was possible to interview Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria.

UAE Team Emirates' Fernando Gaviria is once again starting his season in the Vuelta a San Juan, a race in which he has taken five victories, having been one of the first ones where he could show to the world his potential as a top sprinter.

The Colombian is looking for a fresh start this new season, leaving behind a difficult 2019 in which he suffered from the complications of a blow to his knee and lived through the difficulties of adapting to a new environment after spending more than three years at Deceuninck-Quick-Step -a team in which he started as a stagiaire and gave him the chance to take a step to the WorldTour.

The arrival of his old teammate and lead-out man Max Richeze brings new hope and comfort to Gaviria. I met the Colombian at the media day of UAE Team Emirates at the Spanish Mediterranean coast, where we had some minutes to have a relaxed talk that left this interview as result.

Fernando Gaviria - UAE Team Emirates

How important it is for you that Max Richeze decided to sign with UAE Team Emirates?

It is very important because he is a great friend, a great teammate and a person with whom I can train. We can do a specific kind of training, and he is a man that can give a lot to the whole team, not only to me, but to any other rider.

Do you think the presence of Richeze in the team will help you throughout the season and maybe improve your results?

Yes. I think that being with him things will be a bit less complicated because he will bring more help being a great teammate and surely he can also help improve the results of the entire team.

Last year you had problems in your knee due to a hit, are you completely recovered from that?

Yes, the problem of the knee was very difficult to resolve and it was very difficult for me to get back to my form. I had days on which I felt very good and others on which I felt terribly bad. But at the moment, the process after the holidays has been improving, so I think I am close to reaching a good shape ahead of the start of the season.

The 2019 season wasn't what you expected but you still had three victories in the World Tour and one in a grand tour. How was 2019 for you?

It was difficult because I thought that changing teams was going to be a lot easier, but it was very difficult for me in the first part of the season. Everything was complicated because I had to change everything: bike, clothing, coach, etc., and I was used to something different. Changing teams was complicated but I kept going. I think it was a difficult season, but there is nothing to do about it now. Now I'm focusing on the current season.

Have you already adapted to the new things and dynamics of this team?

Yes, I think that last year I learned a lot of things that had to be improved. The team has also improved day by day. The team never stops improving, it never ceases to surprise us with the new things that it wants to do. And that is good, because it doesn't just want to settle being a WorldTour team but it tries to be the best and that is also what the riders want. We want to help the team to be one of the best.

Are you doing something on the track in 2020?

I don't know at the moment because I had analysed the option of going to the Olympic Games but Colombia doesn't have the necessary points to go there. So for now I don't know if there are any options of going to the World Championships or not. So I would say that for now it is ruled out.

You have already won stages in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, is a victory in the Vuelta a priority to you?

I wouldn't call it a priority, but when you already have victories in two races and there is one missing, there is something there. Last year, I really wanted to take that victory and I tried my best but as you could see I wasn't at my best shape. I wasn't prepared to go to the Vuelta, and I was very disappointed. But surely I would love to win in the Vuelta because it is important for my career. I also dream of taking the leader's jersey in the Vuelta.

Fernando Gaviria - UAE Team Emirates

What are the best sprinters for you at this moment?

I think any list would fall short because I wouldn't remember them all. But there are very strong sprinters like Elia Viviani, Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann, Caleb Ewan, Dylan Groenewegen, and Peter Sagan, who isn't a real sprinter, but he's capable of winning stages in a sprint, so he plays a very important role. And there are also some new riders coming very strong like (Fabio) Jakobsen and Alvaro Hodeg, who is a very good friend of mine and a very strong sprinter.

What do you think of the moment that Colombia is living in cycling, that there aren't only pure climbers like before, but some different riders like you and Hodeg?

It is important because we have had all kinds of riders. We have had someone like Santiago Botero as the time trial World Champion, many climbers, and we were missing riders on the sprint. But we have been opening that front with Leonardo Duque, Álvaro and me, so it is visible that in Colombia we also have quality riders for the classics and the sprints.

Matteo Trentin said that every time sprinters have to be able to climb a bit better, what do you think about this?

Yes, for sure. I think with the kind of races nowadays and the different kind of organizations, sprinters have to be able to climb more, particularly because of the time limits of the very tough stages or other days that are also difficult but finish in a bunch sprint, those are chances that we can't miss. So that is why I think that we have to focus on climbing a bit better.

Fernando Gaviria - UAE Team Emirates

Do you have any specific training for the climbs?

No, I think that the training is very similar to the one that I do every day. I don't do any specific training at ascents but I try to do training that include slopes, so I can prepare my body for race conditions.

By Mary Cárdenas.




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