The Colombian's first World Tour victory of the season came after a thrilling finale in Civitanova Marche.
Fernando Gaviria returned to winning ways, four weeks after nabbing a stage at Volta ao Algarve. This time, the 22-year-old South American came out on top at Tirreno-Adriatico, same race which last year witnessed his first World Tour success, on a day made exciting by the countless attacks launched by several riders on a small lump with stiff gradients coming nine kilometers from the finish.
Until that point, Julien Vermote put in a mountain of work at the head of the bunch, setting a strong pace behind the eight escapees and controlling their advantage, before clawing them back – with the help of Dimension Data and Team Sky – in the final part of the stage to Civitanova Marche. On the unclassified climb, some riders threw caution to the wind, but Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels covered these attacks, before Niki Terpstra joined a four-man move which opened a 10-second gap over the top of the hill.
Behind, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) accelerated, trying to split the field, but Fernando Gaviria responded immediately and jumped on the world champion's wheel. On the flat section towards the line, the bunch reabsorbed the group of Niki Terpstra and the sprinters began moving to the front, despite the messy finish which splintered the peloton before the flamme rouge. Gaviria made the most out of his incredible turn of speed, going in a head-to-head contest with Sagan and defeating him for his fourth victory of the year.
"I'm happy to take this victory, it's a well-deserved success for our squad after a week during which we worked and fought hard. I knew it was the last opportunity for the sprinters and to get another win at Tirreno-Adriatico makes me very happy. This victory gives me confidence for the upcoming races", said Fernando Gaviria, one of the two Colombian riders to nab a win in the "Race of the Two Seas" since its inception, in 1966.
The data provided by his Velon tracker – a maximum power peak of 1277W during the 260m-long sprint which saw him hit a 69.8km/h top speed on the seafront of Civitanova Marche – come as testimony of how strong the Quick-Step Floors rider was on that crucial part of the stage.
"When Sagan attacked, I followed him and thanks to the fact Niki was in the front I could stay relaxed on his wheel. In the final 200 meters, I kept my eyes on him and when I noticed he wanted to open his sprint, I decided to move first. I had good legs and enough power to keep a small gap, even if he was coming back really strongly. He is one of the best riders in the peloton and to beat him it's an honor", concluded Fernando, who brought Quick-Step Floors' 16th victory of the year.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele