Fernando Gaviria is looking to bounce back from a 2019 season where he struggled to live up to the heights he hit in 2017 and 2018 and will look to target major victories in the spring Classics.
The Colombian sprinter has said he will make the first Monument of the season, Milan – San Remo, his season’s “main objective”, having come close to taking victory before with a fifth place finish in 2017.
“Milan – San Remo is a very nice race because it is the longest of the year. It has its difficulties and is a good race for sprinters,” Gaviria told Spanish newspaper AS. “Right now it is my main objective. I have been close to winning it and we will work to ride well that day.”
While the first Italian Monument of the season is the one Gaviria thinks he has the best chance of taking, it’s the French one the 25-year-old would really love to win.
“The one I like the most is Paris-Roubaix,” Gaviria added, explaining that illness had prevented his first scheduled participation in the cobbled race last year. “In 2019 I was about to leave but on the day of the race I woke up with a fever and the team manager didn’t let me leave. I’ve still never ridden the race so this year I will be trying to win it.”
It’s not just French cobbles that Gaviria fancies, he also hopes to compete on Belgian cobbles as he plans a busy early season. “I’ve already been [racing in Belgium] for three years and I like that feeling. They make the races more difficult and different. They generate more options for everyone and anyone can win in Belgium,” he said.
As for the rest of 2020, his second with UAE – Team Emirates, Gaviria is taking it one step at a time and after the Vuelta a San Juan and the spring Classics he will then assess whether to take on a Grand Tour.
“We start in San Juan and then we will be focused on the Classics. Then we will make more decisions,” Gaviria explained. “However, I think we will be on the Tour de France. I still do not put it down as a target because there are more than seven months left to decide.”
The winner of two Tour stages in 2018, which also saw him take the yellow jersey on the opening day, Gaviria says he is looking to build on his consistency this year, having struggled to adapt to his new team after leaving Deceuninck Quick-Step at the end of 2018.
“2019 was a bit difficult due to the change of equipment and feelings. The knee injury was one of the causes of the bad year. It was hard for me to recover after almost three months without riding a bike,” Gaviria said.
“It was hard for me to build my form, some days I felt very good, others very bad…but it’s over and now we think about 2020. This year I learned that I have to be very careful with my body, not to overdo training and to eat right.”
After his compatriot Egan Bernal won a first Tour de France for Colombia, Gaviria says he is determined to take more important victories for a nation where until recently major WorldTour success seemed a distant dream.