QuickStep sharing the love in Vuelta a San Juan

Boonen and Gaviria take turns winning stages, Richeze set to get his chance

So convincing was Fernando Gaviria's victory on the opening stage of the Vuelta a San Juan, the Quick-Step Floors team could have been forgiven for not wishing to rock the boat, and sending the Colombian out again on day two to double his tally.

But Tom Boonen commands a level of respect – not least since this is the final season of his illustrious career – and when he says he wants a chance of his own and feels he can take it, the directors listen.

"This is the Vuelta a San Juan…" QuickStep DS Davide Bramati joked to Cyclingnews, indicating that if you can't shake things up and experiment here, where can you?

In the end, Boonen fully justified the gamble – if you can call it that when he's clearly in such fine form – with a powerful sprint on stage 2, where he was led out by Gaviria in a reversal of roles.

"It doesn't bother me in the slightest working for Tom," the 22-year-old Colombian told Cyclingnews. "My teammates have sacrificed many opportunities for my sake, to help me in the past, so it is a pleasure to work for a great like Tom Boonen. And particularly with it being his final year – I think it's even more special."

There were question marks ahead of the race as to whose basket the team would place their eggs on the five sprint stages here. Gaviria probably the faster of the two with a knack for winning in Argentina in January, and Boonen understandably eager to get the ball rolling in a final season which is just 11 weeks long.

But this isn't a case of letting Boonen have his victory and then returning to the Gaviria plan.

"I do not think this was my last sprint," Boonen told the Belgian journalists who were going into overdrive. "Next we have the time trial, but on the weekend I'd like to sprint again."

With three more flat stages on the menu, they could both have another bite at the cherry, but there’s a third protagonist in the form of Max Richeze, who has become a key component of the Quick-Step leadout train since joining the team last year.

Gaviria, speaking after the first stage, said he was open to the possibility of going for a victory with Boonen or Richeze, who would dearly love to taste victory on his home Argentinian soil.

"Why not? Bramati said of Richeze's chances after Boonen's win was in the bag. "We are making our plans, so we'll see, but for sure we have something in mind…"

It would make it a dream week for Patrick Lefevere's team, not to mention a sobering one for Elia Viviani if he were to be beaten by all three.

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