Fernando Gaviria’s best win yet
Four wins in a debut Grand Tour is an incredible feat, especially if you’re 22. But to take your fourth in such impressive style is even more incredible.
As the riders at the front of the bunch began to unleash their sprints for the line, Fernando Gaviria was barely in touching distance of them.
Someone near you probably said, or you probably thought to yourself, ‘Gaviria’s out of this one’. But the Colombian put in an incredible turn of speed to come round the right side of the front group of riders to beat Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates) who were already in full sprint.
Not only did Gaviria come from 10 metres or so behind to beat them, he was able to sit up and celebrate ahead of the line.
If you weren’t impressed before by his talent during this Giro, this surely secures his status as one of the hottest prospects in cycling.
Now we wait for the mouthwatering prospect of Gaviria versus Peter Sagan at one of the Grand Tours…
Ewan left frustrated (again)
After his win on stage seven, it was a return to the same old frustrations for Caleb Ewan.
Aside from his win on the tricky finish on the seventh day of racing, Ewan has missed out on fighting for victory in the sprint stages for various reasons.
Today, he seemed to get box in by the slowing leadout mean, and was visibly annoyed as he realised there was no way through to the front.
As Bora and Quick-Step’s final leadout riders drifted to the right of the road, Ewan appeared to get sandwiched somewhere between, coming shoulder to shoulder with Max Richeze (Quick-Step) at one point.
Gaviria was able to alongside the barriers on the right hand side, while the Australian appeared to miss his opportunity to take a jump to the left and get round Rudi Selig (Bora) as he finished his effort for Sam Bennett.
It’ll be doubly frustrating for the young Aussie, as he’ll likely call it quits at the Giro after today with this the final sprint stage on the 2017 route.
That lived up to the hype
And that hype was…that this stage wouldn’t be that entertaining.
While the very final part of the sprint issued some excitement because of Gaviria’s fantastic effort, the rest of the day was, well, pretty forgettable.
If you left the room for two hours (or more) and came back, you definitely wouldn’t have missed much.
Farewell sprinters, we hardly knew ye
And it’s goodbye to many of the sprinters.
André Greipel said it was an “easy decision” for the fast-men to jump ship from the Giro at this point. Frankly, that’s understandable. If you’ve not got a penchant for climbing, a trip up the Mortirolo, the Stelvio and the Monte Grappa with only a time trial waiting for you on the final day is not going to give you much motivation.
Gaviria is likely to be the only one who holds on through the next week and a bit, with his team keen to give him the full experience (horror) of a three-week race, while the man himself will be eager to seal the maglia ciclamino points jersey.
Mountains, mountains, mountains
From here on in, it’s pretty much GC stages all the way. There’s a couple which are likely to see the main men finish all together, but we’ve got some big days coming up, starting with the next summit finish on Saturday.
Despite the loss of Geraint Thomas for good to this year’s GC narrative, we’ve still got to wait and see how Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) copes on the really big mountain days.