Fernando Gaviria won the opening stage at the Vuelta a San Juan, immediately shrugging off the pressure and expectation on him to win on his debut in UAE Team Emirates colours and quickly pushing aside any sense of regret about his move from QuickStep during the winter.
“I’m very happy, winning always makes me happy,” he said, wearing a UAE team cap with the visor turned up to show his new team sponsors.
“This win is extra special because I took a risk by changing teams for 2019. It was a tough decision, because Quick-Step is one of best teams in the world. But we live to take risks, and I think UAE want to get better year after year, and I’m here to win for them.”
Gaviria has won stages in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, but this early-season win in Argentina, where he first sprinted to victory in 2015, has a special meaning.
“I can’t compare it with the Giro and Tour wins, they’re at another level, they’re the ones that make you a big rider. But this one is very important to me because I changed teams and started all over again,” he explained.
“It’s my first race in the UAE Team Emirates colours, and it’s my first victory for them. Lets hope things carry on like this.”