GENT, Belgium (VN) — Crash-prone Colombian Fernando Gaviria needs to continue improving, says his Quick-Step team’s general manager Patrick Lefevere.
Gaviria, a favorite for Milano-Sanremo, crashed in the final sprint stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and will be out of the entire classics season with a broken bone in his hand. It was not the first time the 23-year-old track world champion fell in a key moment.
“Maybe he has to go to the eye doctor!” Lefevere told VeloNews with a laugh when asked how Gaviria can avoid this again. “I don’t know. I really don’t know.”
“It’s just something that he needs to work on himself. But of course, it’s bad luck. Sometimes you needed to be more concentrated to avoid these things. It’s like this.”
Gaviria clipped the rear wheel of his lead-out man Max Richeze in the final kilometers of stage 6, which Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) eventually won. Luckily, Gaviria did not take down everyone with him. World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) struggled to stay upright and made a dramatic chase to be able to sprint for second for second place.
The incident ruled Gaviria out of Sanremo, a race he was favored in. It also ended his chances to ride the cobbled classics with Quick-Step Floors and gain valuable experience for the coming years.
“He’ll have to watch them on TV now to try and gain experience. It’s a pity, but the crash was his own fault,” Lefevere said.
“We realized that he crashes a lot. I think it’s due to his position, that he’s a track rider. He never brakes. He’s always with his hands on the bars and never brakes.
“You should be 200-percent concentrated seven kilometers from the finish. And OK, if it was the first time, I’d say fine, but I saw already three to four crashes like this: two years ago in Milano-Sanremo on the last curve, this year in Argentina, he did it again.”
Gaviria won the omnium title twice at the world championships. He quickly made a name for himself on the road beating Mark Cavendish in sprints in Argentina. With Quick-Step Floors, he won four stages and the points jersey at the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
“I don’t think [it’s his strength and awareness at the end of races],” continued Lefevere. “It’s more that he’s looking in front of him, [track riders] are so used to handing their bike that they don’t pay attention, but road races are totally different because you can brake, you can shift gears, sometimes when a rider stands on his pedals, his bike goes backwards. On the track, this doesn’t happen. They’re always sitting. It’s a question of details.”
With Gaviria’s work in the classics “delayed for one more year,” he will recover at home in Colombia and prepare for his debut in the Tour de France. His race schedule should include the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse.