Fernando Gaviria is nothing if not ambitious. After bursting onto the scene with two victories over Mark Cavendish at the 2015 Tour de San Luis, Gaviria has made a blistering start to life as a professional, winning seven races in his debut campaign before doubling that tally in 2017, including four strikes at the Giro d’Italia on his Grand Tour debut.
“A serial killer,” is how Quick-Step Floors team manager Patrick Lefevere refers to the precocious Colombian. “He’s so hungry, I’ve rarely seen such a hungry kid who wants to win it all. If you talk with him, he will win everything.”
He heads into the 2018 season, at the age of 23, as one of the most important figures at Quick-Step. His status is best illustrated by the fact that Marcel Kittel, the dominant sprinter of last year’s Tour de France with five stage wins, had to leave the team over the winter because he couldn’t be guaranteed support at this year’s Tour.
Gaviria is hardly one to talk himself up in interview, but he gave a hint of his ambition when he sat down with journalists at Quick-Step’s team presentation in Calpe last week.
“It’s complicated,” he said when asked if he saw himself as the successor to the recently-retired Tom Boonen, a Quick-Step great. “There are still a couple of years to wait to get our hopes up.
“Obviously every cyclist wants to be like Tom Boonen, wants to be like Philippe Gilbert. All cyclists want to be like the great riders we admire. It’s tricky – at the moment matching Gilbert seems like something impossible, the same with Boonen. It’s complicated but, working every day, I will try and live up to them, and why not try and win many more things.”
With the hours counting down to the start of the Tour Down Under we preview the course and the favourites, and ask if Sagan himself can challenge for the top spot on the GC. In the podcast, we hear from the world champion, as well Mitchelton-Scott’s pocket rocket Caleb Ewan.
We also have an exclusive interview with Thomas de Gendt, who has won stages in all three Grand Tours, on how to be a breakaway specialist.
For more episodes of the Cyclingnews Podcast, click here.
The 2019 Tour de France Grand Départ will feature a trip up the Muur van Geraardsbergen on stage 1 and a team time trial on stage 2, organisers ASO have announced.
Next year’s edition of La Grande Boucle will start in Brussels for the second time in the race’s history. It will be the fifth time that Belgium has hosted the Grand Départ.
The Brussels start will mark two major anniversaries: 100 years of the iconic race leader’s yellow jersey, and 50 years since Brussels local Eddy Merckx won the first of his five Tour de France titles. Merckx is due to attend the Grand Départ after resolving a dispute between himself and ASO about the Tour of Oman.
At a special presentation in Brussels, ASO confirmed that stage 1 of the 2019 Tour de France will bring together the Flemish and Walloon sides of Belgium as it loops out from the capital, down to Charleroi, and back up.
In an event that is set to mark several iconic moments of Tour de France history, it seems fitting that the route includes what is arguably Belgium’s most iconic climb.
The Muur van Geraardsbergen – or Mur de Grammont – comes in the early kilometres of stage 1. It is unlikely to have a major impact on the day’s result but will be a visually spectacular moment. It is followed by the Bosberg but that’s where the climbing ends, and it’s likely that the stage will end in a bunch sprint, giving the fast men a rare opportunity to put themselves into the yellow jersey.