Fernando Gaviria will make his debut with UAE Team Emirates at the upcoming Vuelta a San Juan Internacional from January 27 to February 3 in Argentina. The Colombian sprinter says he hopes to start his season off on the "right foot" by adding to his three previous victories at the seven-day event.
"I return to Argentina and San Juan with gusto," Gaviria said in a press release. "I have great memories with my victories, although last year I had to quit after falling."
Gaviria has had previous success at the Vuelta a San Juan, winning two stages in 2017 and one in 2018. In both editions, he wore the leader's jersey thanks to his victories in the opening stage. He holds the record most stage victories in the race, tied with Argentina's Max Richeze. Last year, however, Gaviria crashed near the end of stage 4 and was forced to abandon the race.
Gaviria also started his season at the Tour de San Luis in 2015 and 2016, where he first emerged as the up-and-coming sprinter when he won three stages.
At this year's Vuelta a San Juan, Gaviria will be up against his former teammates Richeze and Alvaro Hodeg, who race for the newly named Deceuninck-QuickStep. Gaviria signed a three-year deal with UAE Team Emirates that will take him through 2021.
Event organisers also announced in November that Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) will take the start line.
"In 2019, I hope to match the successes of the two previous years," Gaviria said about his return to the Vuelta a San Juan.
"It will also be my debut with UAE Team Emirates and it is obvious that I would like to start on the right foot and with the hope that it will be a great season for me and my new team."