Fernando Gaviria wins opening Sprint Battle at the Vuelta de San Juan 

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was the fastest, winning a massive hard-fought sprint which included Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish

Fernando Gaviria wins opening Sprint Battle at the Vuelta de San Juan

Fernando Gaviria opened his UAE Team Emirates chapter in the best way possible by winning the opening stage of the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan.

After 159,1km from San Juan to Pocito, he sprinted (photo Bettini) ahead of Matteo Malucelli (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).


The three hold the same top spots in the overall classification of the Argentine stage race, with Gaviria now in the leader’s jersey.

“I’m super happy when I win,” Gaviria (35 victories as pro) explained. “Above all because I have changed teams and I was looking for a confirmation. The UAE Team Emirates is improving year after year and becoming the strongest in the world and I’m happy to be apart of this project. In my old team, I learned so much and now I’m bringing all of that knowledge with me in my new chapter. I want to thank my team because they worked so well even if we are young, we have so much talent. We prepared very well in the winter and in the last days here in San Juan before the race. In the sprint, I was very relaxed because knew that I could win.”

Peter Sagan went early on in the sprint and was overhauled by several fastmen and crossed the line in 9th, just behind was Briton's Mark Cavendish whose back from injuries and illnesses that saw him last contest a sprint nearly 12 months ago. Finishing in 8th place should boost the Brit's confidence and prove that he's on his way back to his previous form.

Tomorrow the riders will race the second stage between Chimbas and Peri Lago Punta Negra. The stage covers 160.2km, with five climbs over the top of the Punta Negra (3rd category). The finish line is 2.5km after the top of the last climb and should make for a tough day for Gaviria and the other sprinters.

VIDEO: 2019 Vuelta San Juan Stage 1 Finale

2019 Vuelta San Juan Stage 1 Top 10

1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates 3:50:12 
2 Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA   
3 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe   
4 Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri-Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM   
5 Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep   
6 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Cycling Academy   
7 Ricardo Escuela (Arg) A.C.A Virgen de Fatima   
8 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data   
9 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe   
10 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giacattoli-Sidermec

 
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