Mark Cavendish will see more of Fernando Gaviria in the coming years as the 20-year-old Colombian aims to join a WorldTour team by 2016. Already, five top-tier squads have enquired about signing him.
“This year, I can’t make any moves. I’m under contract through 2015 with Colombia-Coldeportes, and I want to fulfil it,” he told Ciclismo Internacional.
“My dream is to race the Tour de France, and I’ll talk to interested teams for the 2016 season.”
Gaviria said that since he beat Cavendish – considered one of cycling’s best sprinters with 25 Tour de France wins – in head-to-head matches at the Tour de San Luis that first division began knocking at his door.
“He shot out early to beat Cavendish,” Claudio Corti, general manager of team Colombia told Cycling Weekly.
“He was doing the same thing in the Tour de L’Avenir last year, but fading. Now he’s winning. He can go far, he just needs to work on that sprint and mature.”
The Italian manager said that his second division team has had an eye on Gaviria since last year. Since winning stage one and stage three, however, first division teams are interested, as well.
“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Gaviria said.
“I did not know what to expect in San Luis, but once I won the first stage, my confidence grew. Everyday, I’m learning more about myself as a rider and as a person.”
Gaviria comes from La Ceja in west-central Colombia, just south of Medellín, at 2200 metres. He first believed he would be a climber like the famous Colombians Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Urán, but he was dropped in races. His father Hernando, who runs the Clecilja Club, took him to the track.
His speed took him to the 2012 Junior Worlds, where he won the Madison and Omnium. At the London World Cup in December, he won the Omnium. The rest of the month, however, he trained to be ready for San Luis.
“He’s a track rider, so he’s very fast and he can go super long,” Cavendish said.
“Being able to sprint from a distance like that is a sign of a track rider. It’s very impressive.”
Cavendish won the Madison World title in 2005 and 2008 before completely switching to the road.
Gaviria will switch to the road, too. He is building towards the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but after the Track Worlds on February 18 to 22 he will race the Under 23 Tour of Colombia, the Tour de L’Avenir and the road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
Along the way, he could secure a contract with a first division team for 2016 that will see him sprinting against Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Cavendish. First, however, Gaviria will face Cavendish for another time in stage seven on Sunday in the Tour of San Luis.