Track cycling star Gaviria joins Cavendish on Etixx-Quick-Step
PARIS (AFP) — Fresh from winning the omnium title at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships last weekend, Fernando Gaviria has agreed to a two-year deal with Etixx-Quick-Step, the Belgian team announced Tuesday.
The 20-year-old Colombian sprinter is now tied to Etixx until the end of the 2017 season.
“I am really looking forward to joining this team,” Gaviria said. “This was my first choice. I love this team and have followed them since I was a kid.”
Gaviria overcame three former champions to win the six-discipline omnium event on Saturday.
He is already a known quantity in the professional peloton, having last month beaten 2012 road world champion and now teammate Mark Cavendish in two sprint finishes at the Tour de San Luis.
“I have strong admiration for Mark Cavendish,” Gaviria said. “At Tour de San Luis I was constantly watching him, trying to understand his movements and learn as much as I can from him. For me it is super to join a team that is so skilled in the sprints, and provides a good structure for me to do my job and get better at my job. For me it is a question of learning a lot with Etixx-Quick-Step, and to me this is the best team to learn from and also be able to do my job as best I can.”
Gaviria and compatriot Rodrigo Contreras signed with Etixx, joining fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran on the roster.
CEO Patrick Lefevere said the team will “respect and support” Gaviria in his wish to participate at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics on the track.
“There is a possibility for him to ride with the team as a stagiaire this season, but we will decide later,” Lefevere said. “We also talked a lot about his desire to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics on the track. We respect and support his decision. Next year Fernando will have a program that will allow him to be in the best condition for the Olympics, while also participating in road racing.”
Meanwhile, Cavendish dismissed any suggestions that he was against the signing of Gaviria, posting on Twitter: “Contrary to what some shit-stirrers may start yapping, I’m over the moon that @Etixx_QuickStep has signed @77Gaviria. Welcome dude!”