Fernando Gaviria will make his Grand Tour debut at the 2017 Giro d'Italia as part of the Quick-Step Floors team. The Italian race will be an opportunity for Gaviria to continue his rapid rise through the sport's ranks and there will be plenty of expectation on him as he lines up next May.
There will be a limited number of opportunities for the sprinters at the Giro with just six flat stages and two more classified as hilly, but Gaviria says he's ready to take on his first Grand Tour.
"I am already looking forward to it. I'm aware I still have plenty of things to learn, but I'm motivated for the Giro d'Italia," Gaviria said in a team press release. "I want to thank the team for putting their faith in me and for giving me this chance. At the moment, I don't want to think too much about it, as my focus is on the first races of the season, but when the time will come, I'll do all that I can to be prepared for this challenge."
Gaviria turned professional this season with Etixx-QuickStep after some impressive performances last year, and he has lived up to expectations with two WorldTour wins at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Pologne, while also targeting the track at the Olympic Games. He also won Paris-Tours. He looked like he might well take a Monument victory until a crash in the final sprint of Milan-San Remo. Gaviria's performances have earned him a spot on the team, but the team says the Giro d'Italia will be a learning experience for the Colombian.
"He deserves to ride a Grand Tour after the solid season he's had, during which he proved how strong he is. But, at the same time, I want to be clear that we won't put any pressure on Fernando, who'll rely on some experienced riders to guide him through", said sports director Davide Bramati. "Of course, if a chance will come, he will try to grab it, as he's shown on several occasions last year that he can go head-to-head with some of the best sprinters in the world and defeat them. But, as I've said, we will take each step at a time and first see how he copes with the difficulties of the race before laying out any goals."
The 2017 Giro d'Italia will start in Sardinia on May 5 and finish with a time trial in Milan on May 28.