As the kilometres ticked down to the finish of stage 2 of the Tour Colombia 2.1 on Wednesday, UAE Team Emirates' main sprinter at the race, Fernando Gaviria, decided that he wasn't feeling great, passing responsibility for the bunch gallop to teammate Sebastian Molano, who finished third.
While the stage was won by Molano's Colombian compatriot Alvaro Hodeg of Deceuninck-QuickStep, it was an admirable effort from the less-decorated 24-year-old, who joined UAE Team Emirates this season from Pro Continental squad Manzana Postobon.
"I was focused on my work of launching Gaviria, but he then told me he wasn't feeling right to sprint for the win, so I had the possibility to try myself as the team's sprint leader," Molano said on the team's website.
"I was well-positioned in the sprint, and I had good legs, but the sprints aren't always straight drags and I lost speed, unfortunately."
Gaviria was disappointed at not being able to contest the sprint as it finished in his hometown of La Ceja.
"I'm upset that I didn't finish off the good work done by the team riding at the front of the race," said Gaviria. "Near the finish, my body was not feeling how I expected it to, so at that point I preferred to leave Molano to have a chance.
"I was sorry about that with the stage arriving at my hometown, and with the chance to make a good impression. But there are still chances in this Tour Colombia, and I hope that I will have better feelings and can repay the fans for their support," he said.
The race continues with another likely sprinters' stage on a 167.6km route around Llanogrande on Thursday, where Gaviria will be hoping to be well enough to be in the mix again.
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