October 16, 2016
Gaviria book-ends season with win at Paris Tours
Fernando Gaviria, who started his season with a win on stage one of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina back in January, out sprinted Arnaud Démare to win his last major race of the season at the 252,5 km Paris Tours.
The Columbian from Etixx-Quickstep showed a wily turn of mind when he exploited a momentary lapse in the peloton's headlong surge for the line and attacked on the Avenue de Grammont 800m from the line. While his opponets tried to make up for their mistake it proved too late with the Gaviria powering away to glory.
Fernando Gaviria win Paris Tours © ASO/B.Bade
Gaviria has time to look back © ASO/B.Bade
Seven brave men and a wary peloton
Theflat course failed to deter anyone attacking, whcih they did from the moment the flag dropped, with lots of riders eager to show themselves at the front of a race celebrating its 120th anniversary.
With the hectic pace of the first few minutes stringout out the peloton and, at times, caused splits, aseven-man group managed to pull clear after about 20 km, with Arnaud Gérard (Fortuneo–Vital Concept) dragging Floris Gerts (BMC Racing Team), Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Biran van Goethem (Roompot Oranje Peloton), Kévin Lebreton (Armée de Terre), Maarten Wynants (Team Lotto - Jumbo) and French climber Warren Barguil (Team Giant – Alpecin) along in his third Paris–Tours breakaway.
The peloton didn't react until the gap passed 2' 20″at km 37, with Tom Boonen and Fernando Gaviria's Etixx–Quick-Step teammates leading the chase. Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, FDJ, Lotto–Soudal and Sky worked together to ensure the difference never exceeded 4′20″.
Warren Barguil found himself with a mechanical but had no trouble rejoining the breakaway. back in the main group the increased pace set by the sprinters' teams spooked the peloton created some havoc. The leader of Roompot–Oranje Peloton, Dutchman Maurits Lammertink, was among those who hit the deck.
The effort paid off and shortened the odds of a bunch sprint as the gap shriveled to just 40 seconds with 27 km to go.
Gaviria, the wily young fox
The breakaway was unable to withstand the onslaught disintegrating entirely with 14km to go. Team Katusha's Sergey Lagutin and Giant–Alpecin's Bert De Backer almost immediately launched a counterattack, but could manage just a 10-second gap with 9 km to go. The bought themsleves another four kilometres but the mass sprint seemed inevitable until Gaviria stole the show. The final irony was the fact that Gaviria, at 22 years old, is five months younger than the winner of Paris–Tours Espoirs, Dutchman Arvid de Kleijn.
Arnaud Demare, FDJ, Fernando Gaviria, Etixx Quick Step, winner, Arvid de Kleijn, Jo Piels Cycling Team © ASO/B.Bade