Fernando Gaviria says he is “relaxed and enjoying every race” with his new UAE Team Emirates squad, after a sudden move at the end of 2018.
The Colombian sprinting talent has opened his season strong and hopes to continue that trajectory at the UAE Tour, his new team’s home race.
Gaviria unexpectedly switched from Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the end of 2018 after budget constraints for the Belgian team forced them to sell the young powerhouse.
When asked about the significance of opening strong with a new team, the 24-year-old told Cycling Weekly: “It’s really important. When you change teams, you never know what will happen.
“It’s really good for the motivation. I’m comfortable in the team. I’m relaxed and enjoying every race.”
Speaking ahead of the inaugural UAE Tour, he added: “I feel really good. Things are really good with the team.
“This is the first really big race of the year and the team are ready.”
Gaviria won two stages of the Vuelta a San Juan, including his first race day of the season on stage one.
He has taken victory in his first time out every year since 2015.
Gaviria has won six Grand Tour stages – four at his debut Giro d’Italia in 2017, and two in his first Tour de France last season.
He is set to return to the Tour in 2019.
After a brilliant performance in his first race of the year in Argentina, Gaviria then went on to ride his home race Tour Colombia but was forced to pull out after stage two.
He said: “It’s true I didn’t finish. I had a respiratory problem, trouble breathing.
“I pulled out because the UAE Tour is a very important race for us.
“I’m 100 per cent recovered.
“I’m here with Alexander Kristoff and between us we’ll see what we can do in the sprints.”
The first UAE Tour opens with a team time trial on Sunday (February 24) and ends on Saturday, March 2.