The Colombian sprinter won two stages on his Tour debut and wore the yellow jersey but was one of the many sprinters to leave the race after missing the time cut in the Alps.
He will lead Quick-Step Floors on home turf, with fellow sprinter Fabio Jakobsen another option for the Belgian outfit. Niki Terpstra and Yves Lampaerta add versatility to the seven-man line-up and can take up the reins in the event of a more selective race.
The one-day race takes place in late August has a feel of spring about it as it plots a 193km route across West Flanders. The race was set up to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and will pass by many of the battlefields.
The race starts in Nieuwpoort near the north coast and heads down to Ypres for a couple of circuits that will form the decisive sections of the race. After three early climbs, there are four more south of Ypres towards the end of the race, including Monteberg and Kemmelberg. Like Gent-Wevelgem, which carries the moniker 'In Flanders Fields' and has commemorated WW1 in recent years with the addition of the gravel 'plugstreets', the steep, cobbled climb is the final challenge before a lengthy run to the line. In this case, the race finishes in Ypres some 30km from the top of the Kemmelberg.
"It's the inaugural edition of the race, but we know the roads quite well, and the same goes for the hills. It will be a typical Flemish race, with cobblestones, narrow roads, sharp turns and steep hills, including the Kemmelberg, which tops out 35 kilometers from the finish and where it will be important to be well-placed, especially with our fast guys, Fernando and Fabio," said Quick-Step directeur sportif Brian Holm
"We know the parcours suits us and our style, so we are going there with confidence and motivation of getting a good result."
Quick-Step are one of four WorldTour teams on the start list, along with BMC Racing, Team Sunweb, and fellow Belgian outfit Lotto Soudal.
Quick-Step Floors for the Great War Remembrance Race: Fernando Gaviria, Fabio Jakobsen, Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli, Maximiliano Richeze, Florian Senechal, Niki Terpstra.
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