Fernando Gaviria's return from the knee injury that forced him to abandon the Giro d'Italia in May went well Saturday at the Tour de Pologne, where the UAE Team Emirates sprinter finished second to Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in an extended two-up drag race to the line.
Gaviria jumped early on the long, flat finish in Krakow during the opening stage of the seven-day WorldTour race, but Ackermann eventually got on terms with the Colombian as the two fastmen pulled away for an extended run at the line. Ackermann pulled clear just before the finish to beat Gaviria into second, but the UAE rider was satisfied with his first test back in the peloton.
"It has been a couple of months since I last raced, so that sensation of being on the limit on the run-in to the line was a bit new for me again," he said. "But I'm really happy to be back racing, and to finish second to a rider like Ackermann isn’t so bad, so well done to him. I’m definitely missing a bit of pace, but I’ll improve and hopefully have more chances this week."
The next chance for Gaviria will likely come today, as the Tour de Pologne takes on 153km from Tarnowskie Góry to Katowice, where another sprint finish is expected.