Fernando Gaviria and his Quick-Step Floors team ended the 2017 on high with the Colombian sprinter taking his fourth victory at the Tour of Guangxi, giving the Belgian squad its 56th victory of the year. The team claim they won 59 victories, including three races not on the UCI calendar. 30 came in WorldTour events, with 14 different riders taking victories, making it an all-time best season for the team.
Gaviria was disappointed to be beaten by Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) on Monday and so hit out early in the final sprint of the Tour of Guangxi after some excellent work by teammates Rémi Cavagna, Davide Martinelli, Pieter Serry, Martin Velits (who was riding the last race of his career) and lead-out man Max Richeze.
Gaviria beat Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and also won the blue points jersey, while teammate Julian Alaphilippe won the white best young rider jersey.
“There couldn’t have been a better way to call it a season. I’m happy to take the win on the last stage of this race and finish off the excellent job of my teammates, who made sure I got the maximum out of this race,” Gaviria said before celebrating on the final podium by pouring champagne on his teammate and other riders on the podium.
14 race wins in 2017
Gaviria has won 14 races in 2017, equalling teammate and fellow sprinter Marcel Kittel. The two will be rivals in 2018 and are expected to clash in the Tour de France sprints after Kittel opted to leave Quick-Step Floors for Katusha-Alpecin.
Gaviria kicked off his successful 2017 season with two stage victories at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Provincia de San Juan in Argentina in January. He also won four stages at the Giro d’Italia and the points competition. A calf injury caused when his foot came out of his pedal disrupted his summer but he won a stage at the Tour of Britain before riding an aggressive World Championships in Bergen. He was only eighth behind Peter Sagan and was fuming about wasting his chance but bounced back to win four stages in China.
“It’s been a long and rewarding season, one during which I’ve gone from strength to strength, continued to develop and learn, and all these things make me even more motivated for 2018. But before that and resuming training, I’ll go home, enjoy some rest and spend time with my family,” Gaviria said before heading home for the off-season in his beloved Colombia.