Fernando Gaviria: 'Sagan will try to go on the Poggio'

Colombian Milan-San Remo contender Fernando Gaviria reckons rival Peter Sagan will go for a late attack and not hold out for a bunch sprint

Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria in Tirreno-Adriatico.
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) will try to attack free over the Poggio in Milan-San Remo on Saturday and not wait for the sprint on Via Roma, says rival Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors).

Twenty-two-year-old Gaviria is a top favourite for a sprint finish if he can avoid crashing. Last year, he crashed with 300 metres remaining and on Thursday, he fell while training. The team doctor Toon Cruyt told Sporza television that he hurt both wrists and rode on rollers today to avoid stressing them too much.

Sagan is the number one favourite to win the Italian monument, but he must decide on how to try for victory to avoid wasting energy.

>>> Milan-San Remo 2017: Latest news and race info

"We can expect more attacks on the Poggio, with guys like Greg Van Avermaet, Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan, I think they will try to go on the Poggio. We hope that we have the legs in the right moment," Gaviria said in Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday.

"If there is a strong rider with a gap of five to 10 seconds, and they have the legs, I think they can win the race [from the Poggio]. It's a hard descent to make up too much difference because there are too many curves.

Watch: How did Arnaud Démare win the 2016 Milan-San Remo?

"I don't know [if I'll wait for the sprint]. I will wait to see how the legs are feeling. If the legs are good, and it depends on who is attacking, and this race is all about going at the right moment. If you go at the wrong moment, the race is over for you."

From the hillside Poggio town above the Italian Riviera, six kilometres remain to the finish line in San Remo's city centre. Gerald Ciolek won in 2013 from a group that moved free on the ribbon-like descent. In 2013, Simon Gerrans won with an attack on the way up to Poggio.

Gaviria, assuming he bounces back from the crash on Thursday, will be ready either way. Colombia will be watching.

>>> Is Fernando Gaviria cycling’s next superstar?

“In Colombia, Milan-San Remo wasn't so well-known because it's a race for sprinters, and we didn't really have any big sprinters, so the race wasn't seen so much in Colombia," he said.

It has changed now. Thanks to Gaviria's ride last year, the race is shown live on television with the final just as La Ceja, Gaviria's hometown, wakes up in the thin 2200-metre air.

"I think a lot of people will be watching the race, and I will do everything I can to make them happy," he said.

"The pressure is not a problem. I put pressure on myself, and I want to win. The pressure comes from what I put on myself."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.