20-year-old Colombian rider Fernando Gaviria out-paces Mark Cavendish and Sacha Modolo to win the first stage of the Tour de San Luis

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) lost his first sprint of the season to 20-year-old Colombian Fernando Gaviria in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina today.

Gaviria, racing for Colombia’s national team, shot past both Cavendish and Italy’s Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) to win stage one and take the leader’s jersey.

“I thought that it was impossible to beat them,” Gaviria said. “They are so strong, the race was so tough, but finally I was lucky.”

Prior to this afternoon in Villa Mercedes, at the end of 186.8 kilometres of racing, Gaviria was better known as 2012 junior world champion in the Omnium and Madison track events.

Cavendish had the help of team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski, who won the road World Championship title last year in Ponferrada, Spain. Kwiatkowski peeled off in the final kilometre straight, another Etixx team-mate took over and Cavendish sat behind ready to sprint with Modolo on his wheel.

Gaviria shot left out of the slip-stream of Cavendish and Modolo and jumped ahead to an advantage that his rivals could not recover from. He won by a half- to full-bike’s length over Cavendish and raised both hands, flashing his white Colombia jersey in the unusual grey overcast day in central Argentina.

Cavendish counts over 100 professional road wins, including the first stage in Villa Mercedes in 2013. Gaviria now has his first.

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Gaviria can partly thank the work of Cavendish’s Etixx team for controlling an early three-man escape. The three stayed free until 15 kilometres remaining.

Etixx controlled another small attack, but could not stop Gaviria.

“We have a neo-pro in Lukasz Wisniowski here, and we have Fabio Sabatini in his first race with us,” explained Cavendish. “Considering this and that we had six guys I think we did more than a perfect job going into the sprint. But Gaviria got the first jump and he deserved the win today.

“I saw 300 metres to to go, it was a real small sign. I waited for 200, I didn’t see 200 and then he jumped. He went super fast. I saw the line, I didn’t see 200 yet, but at that point I knew I just had to go. It was too late.”

British rider Dan McLay, in his debut season for Bretagne-Seche Environnement, finished in 161st place.

Results
Tour de San Luis 2015, stage one: San Luis to Villa Mercedes, 186.8km
1. Fernando Gavira (Col) Colombia in 4-40-13
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx-QuickStep
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Nicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
5. Sebastian Jose Tolosa (Arg) Buenos Aires
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Yohann Gene (Fra) Europcar
8. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
9. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Italy
10. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement all same time

Overall classification after stage one
1. Fernando Gavira (Col) Colombia
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx-QuickStep
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Nicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
5. Sebastian Jose Tolosa (Arg) Buenos Aires
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Yohann Gene (Fra) Europcar
8. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
9. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Italy
10. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement

Nairo Quintana in action during Stage 1 of the 2015 Tour de San Luis

Nairo Quintana in action during Stage 1 of the 2015 Tour de San Luis

Michael Kwiatkowski in action during Stage 1 of the 2015 Tour de San Luis

Michael Kwiatkowski in action during Stage 1 of the 2015 Tour de San Luis