Fernando Gaviria‘s successful debut with UAE Team Emirates continued at the Vuelta a San Juan, with his newly-constructed lead-out train giving the Colombian a textbook ride to the finish of stage 4 and showing how much they have developed and improved in just a few weeks together.
Gaviria was piloted by Italian pursuiter Simone Consonni after Roberto Ferrari had dragged his teammates out of the pack before the final kilometre, again executing a carefully planned lead out.
Consonni and Gaviria went shoulder to shoulder with Deceuninck-QuickStep pair Max Richeze and Alvaro Hodeg, but Consonni was stronger, faster and won the lead-out battle. Gaviria then surged down the barriers, with Consonni keeping going too close in Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and finishing fourth. He rightly celebrated Gaviria’s victory, as much of it was thanks to him.
“I think it was a perfect stage for us,” said Gaviria, who also won the opening stage in Pocito. “The team didn’t need to work in peloton because we didn’t have the leader’s jersey. We took another win, so we’re very happy.”
Gaviria had impressed while at Quick-Step Floors, taking 34 victories since 2015, including stages at the 2017 Giro d’Italia and then again at the 2018 Tour de France. There were doubts if he could be as successful without the Belgian blue train to lead him out, but UAE Team Emirates have been working hard on their sprint strategies and lead outs at their winter training camps, studying every detail that can make a difference in the heat of the moment.
UAE Team Emirates won just 12 times in 2018 but have already taken three victories in the opening two weeks of the 2019 season, with Jasper Philipsen also winning stage 5 at the Tour Down Under.
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