Gaviria gets up to speed quickly at Tour of Britain

Fernando Gaviria took the biggest win of his fledgling pro career Wednesday at the Tour of Britain with an assist from Etixx-QuickStep teammate Mark Cavendish, who ushered the young Colombian into position before his final kick for the line.

In the finishing straight of stage 4, the 21-year-old Colombian trainee told reporters that teammate Mark Cavendish set him up for the sprint win, putting Gaviria into position ahead of him before the young Colombian took off on his own, surging past world-class fastmen like Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) and Elia Viaviani (Team Sky).

Gaviria's win put another exclamation point on the rider's growing reputation as the up-and-coming sprinter to watch, while further reinforcing the Belgian team's decision to sign him to a two-year deal through 2017.

"To me, when I crossed the line as the winner, it was a huge moment," Gaviria said. "I beat one of the best sprinters in the pro peloton, a point of reference for a guy like myself. So it's really an honour to get this victory."

The stage win in a 2.HC race is the most notable so far in Gaviria's growing tally, which also includes two stage wins earlier this year at the Tour de San Luis – where he was competing against Cavendish – and a sprint win in August at the Czech Cycling Tour, where he was also part of the team time trial victory.

The Tour of Britain is Gaviria's third race with Etixx-QuickStep since joining the team as a stagiaire in August. He finished eighth at the Ride London Classic during his first outing before the Czech race. Then he competed with the Colombian National Team at the Tour de l'Avenir espoirs race before heading to Britain.

"Tour of Britain is a great new experience," Gaviria said in a team release. "We have a nice group here. I'm learning a lot every day. In the next days we will probably have more chances as a team. We will see what we can accomplish."

Gaviria also saluted teammate Petr Vakoc, who crashed near the finish of stage 3 while wearing yellow and did not start Wednesday morning.

"Today I just want to enjoy this moment, which is one of the best for me so far," he said. "I also want to give best wishes to Petr, who didn't start this morning. It was a sad moment for the team, and I am glad to show him with this victory that we will keep fighting for good results while he is recovering."

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