Belgian squad Quick-Step Floors has been confirmed as a starter for February's 2.1 Colombia Oro y Paz. Sprinter Fernando Gaviria and Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe will headline the squad at the 6-11 February race.
Quick-Step Floors has already been announced as one of the team's for next month's Vuelta a San Juan and will continue his South American venture with the new Colombian stage race. The team joins Movistar as as WorldTour teams for the Colombia Oro y Paz.
Targeting further success at the Vuelta a San Juan with Gaviria in January, who will also be able to call upon regular leadout man Max Richeze, the versatile team will look to continue its winning ways in Colombia.
Gaviria finished his 2017 season at the inaugural Tour of Guangxi where he won four stages. The 23-year-old finished the season with 14 wins to his name, including four stages of the Giro d'Italia, and will take on the mantle as Quick-Step Floors' top sprinter in 2018.
For the new stage race, Quick-Step Floors will also field two of its neo-pros, Ecuadorian Jhonatan Jose Narvaez and Colombina Alvaro Hodeg. Belgian Iljo Kiesse will round out the team.
The team will also be fielding a squad at the WorldTour opener next month, Tour Down Under (16-21 January), and possibly the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race the following week in Geelong, requiring it to spread it riders across the globe.
With the confirmation of Gaviria's presence in the race, the top Colombians in the peloton will be on the start line for the race. Nairo and Dayer Quintana, Winner Anacona and Carlos Betancur will all be racing with the Movistar team. The organisers are also hopeful of attracting Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale), and Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) with the Colombian Cycling Federation president Jorge Ovidio González extending invitations to both teams. González has also reached out to Esteban Chaves and Orica Scott with the Australian team yet to decide on accepting the invitation.
The American Pro-Continental UnitedHealthcare team, the Continental Team Illuminate of American, and a Russian national team are also confirmed for the race. The route for the six-stage race is yet to be announced.
Quick-Step Floors for 2018 Colombia Oro y Paz: Fernando Gaviria, Julian Alaphilippe, Maximiliano Richeze,Iljo Keisse, Jhonatan Jose Narvaez and Alvaro Hodeg,