Fernando Gaviria: “I lost my focus for two seconds”

Well-placed inside the final 500 meters, Fernando Gaviria crashed and missed out on the opportunity to fight for the win at the season’s first Monument.

Etixx-QuickStep had lots of bad luck. At the foot of Cipressa, it was crashes galore, among those involved being Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Alan Marangoni (Cannondale), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) and Julien Vermote. The 26-year-old Belgian sustained a deep wound in his left knee and was taken to the Sanremo hospital, where the medical staff took care of him and cleaned his wound. Tonight, he will go back to his home country, where on Sunday he’ll undergo further examinations to determine the nature of his injury.

The last 500 meters were chaotic and tense, as almost all the riders coming into the run-in were ahead of their biggest victory to date. Etixx – Quick-Step had three men there: Gianluca Brambilla, Matteo Trentin and Fernando Gaviria. The Colombian neo-pro was well-placed for the sprint, but unfortunately he hit the deck and couldn’t fight for victory.

Best placed Etixx – QuickStep rider in Milan-Sanremo was Matteo Trentin, who came home in 10th place. Gaviria arrived a couple of minutes later, while Zdenek Stybar concluded the season’s first Monument almost one quarter of an hour behind the winner, because he too was struck by bad luck on Saturday. The Czech, winner of a Tirreno-Adriatico stage last week, was on the Cipressa descent when he crashed because of a loose dog and although he climbed back on the bike, he couldn’t return to the peloton.

Victorious in three races this season, the 21-year-old Fernando Gaviria experienced the toughest day of his pro career, one in which he came very close to a huge result, but was eventually left in tears. Despite the crash, which saw his effort come to an abrupt end, Gaviria was keen on taking the positive things out of this race:

“I am very sad for what happened. It was my fault, as I was in a perfect position, but then I lost my focus for two seconds, because I began thinking on how to sprint, and touched Van Avermaet’s wheel. This was enough to throw away all the hard work of the team. I have mixed feelings: I missed an important opportunity, but on the other hand I am happy that I could cope with a 300-km long race and felt good throughout the day. It’s not the crash that hurts, but the outcome, especially as I was thinking of this race since January.

“I was unlucky twice,” Tom Boone said. “On the Cipressa they crashed in front of me, and I was in last position. That cost me a lot of energy. On the Poggio they crashed again uphill. That’s because everyone was still fresh after a race that was not so difficult which increased the nervousness. Teammate Gaviria then also crashed on the Via Roma. It was not easy for us today. “

“Tactically, the team was flawless. We had three guys at the front in the final kilometers, and we could have had four, if not for Styby’s crash. Brambilla was a key rider there, as was Matteo, who closed the gap twice, once on the Poggio and once when Cancellara attacked. We didn’t get the result we were hoping for, but everyone could see that the team was strong and could adapt to all kind of situations. Fernando came really close to writting history today, and even though he didn’t win, other opportunities will come for him, as he has a very bright future ahead”, concluded sport director Davide Bramati.