Gaviria claims fourth Giro win

New Straits Times - - Sport -

TOR­TONA: Colom­bia’s Fer­nando Gaviria un­der­lined his sta­tus as the 100th Giro d’Italia’s top sprinter af­ter pow­er­ing to an im­pres­sive fourth vic­tory at the end of stage 13 on Fri­day.

Gaviria, of the Quick Step team, looked out of con­tention dur­ing a hec­tic dash for the fin­ish but pro­duced a fe­ro­cious late burst to stun Ire­land’s Sam Ben­nett (Bora) at the end of a mainly flat 167km ride from Reg­gio Emilia to Tor­tona.

Dutch­man Tom Du­moulin, of Sun­web, fin­ished close be­hind in the race leader’s pink jersey to main­tain his 2min 23sec lead over race favourite and 2014 cham­pion Nairo Quin­tana (Mo­vis­tar).

But be­fore the race for the ‘maglia rosa’ moved back into the moun­tains for yes­ter­day’s 14th stage to the sum­mit fin­ish at Oropa, Gaviria en­joyed an­other day of glory on his race de­but.

The Giro sprint field may be miss­ing the likes of Ger­man Mar­cel Kit­tel, Bri­ton Mark Cavendish and Slo­vakian Peter Sa­gan, but Gaviria, a former twotime world cham­pion in track cy­cling’s om­nium event, has been beaten only twice in five sprint fin­ishes so far.

He lost out to Ger­man giant An­dre Greipel on stage two and fin­ished run­ner-up to Aus­tralian Caleb Ewan af­ter a photo fin­ish decision on stage seven.

Di­men­sion Data team sprinter Cavendish is not com­pet­ing as he con­tin­ues his re­cov­ery from a bout of mononu­cle­o­sis.

But even be­fore the stage started, the Manx­man said on Twit­ter: “Well thank heav­ens Fer­nando Gaviria isn’t down to ride the Tour de France this year! Would make all our jobs VERY hard.”

On his maiden three-week race, Gaviria has al­ready sur­passed his moun­tain-climb­ing com­pa­tri­ots for the most num­ber of stage wins on the Giro.

The 22-year-old from Medellin said he is still smart­ing af­ter los­ing out on Olympic om­nium gold in Rio last year where he fin­ished off a podium fea­tur­ing Italy’s gold win­ner Elia Vi­viani, Cavendish and Lasse Hansen of Den­mark.

“I would need to win three mon­u­ments to help me make up for the Olympics,” Gaviria said, re­fer­ring to cy­cling’s five ‘mon­u­ment’ one-day clas­sics.

“And a world cham­pi­onship ti­tle.” AFP

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