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”This is the most beautiful win of my career. I knew how important and big this race was, I know its history, and this motivated me to get the victory today."

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele


09.10.2016 @ 20:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) opened what is likely to become an impressive classics palmares when he surprised his fellow sprinters at Paris-Tours. When the pace went down in the final kilometre, the Colombian launched a strong attack and immediately got a big gap. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) did his best to catch the strong super talent but had to settle for second while Jonas Van Genechten secured a podium place for IAM in their final race ever.


We have gathered several reactions.


Gaviria: This is the most beautiful win of my career

Colombian prodigy Fernando Gaviria struck again, this time in his last race of the season in the Etixx – Quick-Step kit, winning the 110th edition of Paris-Tours with a bang and adding another big victory to what's quickly becoming an impressive palmares. On Sunday, after 252 kilometers between Dreux and Tours, everyone was expecting for a bunch sprint to decide the winner of the final Classic of the season, but Gaviria had other plans and surprised his opponents with a daring attack in the last 600 meters, when he took the right side of the road in a move which reminded of his exploits on the track.


Gaviria, who's in his first year with Etixx – Quick-Step, put some distance between him and the peloton, and despite the chasers digging hard to reel in him, they couldn't come back before the finish line. So big was the gap, that Gaviria started celebrating with 15 meters to go, as he held off the stellar field on the legendary Avenue de Grammont for his most important victory to date, on his way to becoming the first Colombian victor in the race won in the past by François Faber, Briek Schotte or Rik Van Looy.


Paris-Tours, which acted as dress rehearsal for many sprinters ahead of the World Championships in Qatar, saw Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling) finish behind Gaviria on the podium, while teammate Matteo Trentin – the 2015 champion – came home in fourth position, giving Etixx – Quick-Step two men in the top 10.


”This is the most beautiful win of my career. I knew how important and big this race was, I know its history, and this motivated me to get the victory today. It was tough and fast today, but I was fresh in the finale, when I decided to take advantage of a corner which slowed down the peloton before the last straight. As soon as I attacked, I went full gas to the line and managed to hold the pack at bay. I am very happy and I want to thank the team for the support I got. It was my final race of the year in this kit and this makes the success very special. Also, to get news that the team won the team time trial world title gives me even more satisfaction", said Gaviria, whose huge burst of speed and solo attack in the final kilometer will be remembered for many years.


"It was a hard race, fast (47.042 km/h average). There was a slowdown (600 meters from the finish). A week ago Esteban Chaves won the Tour of Lombardy, now I won Paris-Tours. I am very happy for myself and for Colombian cycling, which is becoming stronger. I have one race, the World Championships next Sunday. It would be great to continue this momentum.”


In his maiden pro season, the 22-year-old Colombian won stages at the Tour de San Luis, Tour de Provence, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Pologne, but also Grand Prix Impanis-Van Petegem and Paris-Tours, and these remarkable results will make him a rider to watch out for at the upcoming World Championships.


"In Doha it's going to be a completely different story and the race will be made even more difficult by the heat, but I'm going there confident, relaxed and in good condition, so we'll see what will happen", concluded Gaviria, who will lead the 9-man squad Colombia will line up at the start.


Boonen: Gaviria is class act

Tom Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad:


"Fernando chose the right time to ride away. It slowed down in the peloton and he took advantage of that. It's quite an impressive performance. Fernando is a class act and he is currently in good shape. Of course he is one of the contenders for the Worlds. When he has a good day, he can win a lot of races. 

"All in all it was a boring race and a long wait until the last kilometer. I am pleased with where I am and the feeling in the legs is good. I am also glad that we will travel to Qatar on Tuesday. It will be important to have a little acclimatization. It now remains to be seen how the race will go there. I think we will start with a strong Belgian team and much will depend on the wind and if there is no wind, it will still be a difficult race. It's a treacherous course where much can happen. "


Demare admits mistake: I thought Gaviria went too early

Arnaud Démare told L’Equipre:


"I was on the wheel of Gaviria when he attacked but I did not follow because it seemed too early (600 meters from the line). He was very strong. He quickly got 50 meters. He finished in a great way. I could see he started to fade and I was getting closer but it was too late. Second it is good, but I have already finished 2nd and 3rd here. I wanted to win. I'm disappointed because I had power and more was possible today. 250 kilometers is a good race and for the World Championship it is good training to do five hours at a 47km/h average speed. " 

Van Genechten on the podium at emotional farewell for IAM

After four years in the professional peloton, IAM cCycling  competed in its final race at Paris-Tours on Sunday. The team founded by Michel Thétaz, who also founded IAMFunds, will disband at the end of this season.


Jonas Van Genechten contested the sprint, and only had Fernando Gaviria (Etixx Quick Step) and Arnaud Démare (FDJ) ahead of him. With that result, IAM Cycling chalks up its 58th podium position of the season.


He said:


“Paris-Tours is a race that is close to my heart. I wanted to have a good result here, not only for myself, but for IAM Cycling. I did not see Fernando Gaviria take off.  He did a hell of a sprint. I tried to get back and to anticipate, but Arnaud Démare got there before me. I could not do more. I still have no regrets.


"I did not see Gaviria. I noticed his attack when I found myself on the wheel of Arnaud Démare. Third in the race and 2nd in the sprint is okay. It is too bad that I am a reserve for the World Championships. Next year I will ride for Cofidis. I will put myself at the service of Nacer Bouhanni. It is normal, he is one of the best sprinters. I can also play my card in a second program.”


This was the ultimate last stand for the Pirmin Lang in the colors of the Swiss IAM Cycling team. He spent the day in the break


“The plan was to get one of us into the break. Simon Pellaud tried multiple times. Then when the right move ended up going, it was me who was in the best position at the front. The day was long, and even if it was exhausting, I still had the time to enjoy having this opportunity one last time. I had a lot of fun.”


“The circle is complete,” Eddy Seigneur said, with a lump in his throat. “I really realized that this was the end when I turned into the bypass for the team cars just before the finish line. We spent four wonderful years together. And I am sure that our riders will also offer more beautiful emotions and performances in their future respective teams.”


Though today the team couldn’t improve on its 19 wins for the season, IAM Cycling will finish with 91 top-5 placings and 165 top-10s, proof that this final season was particularly rich and consistent.


Cavendish in the mix in comeback race in Tours

The 252km French one day race would be a fast affair as the flat course lent itself perfectly to the big sprint teams. An early 7 rider breakaway animated the early part of the race but Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Cofidis, FDJ and Etixx-Quickstep all sent riders to the head of the peloton to contribute to the pace making which kept the gap under control. Dimension Data had Jay Thomson and Johann van Zyl doing the lion share of the work in the wind for the African Team.


There was a few late attacks, the most threatening coming from Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) but Kristian Sbaragli covered that move and it was clear that the sprinters would decide the race.


Mark Cavendish was being looked after by the African Team for the finale but it was a rather disorganised sprint with teams constantly swapping control in the last kilometers. Coming into the finishing straight, Cavendish was coming from deep with good speed but Gaviria surprised all by jumping with 700m to go. The Colombian showed good strength to get a gap and then was able to hold it all the way to the line. With the victory sewn up meters before the line was reached, Cavendish sat up to roll across the line in 6th.


Sports director Alex Sans Vega said:


“The changed the course to favour the sprinters going to World Champs so it was pretty clear with so many sprinters here the race would be controlled. It is a race where wind can play a role but today there was very little wind. After 40km 7 riders from teams without sprinters broke away. We did not leave a big gap, the maximum advantage was 4 minutes. Even though there wasn’t much wind, when there was it was a tailwind so it was better to keep it under close control. With 40km to go we rode on the front for Cavendish, in the final Cav was a bit behind after being boxed in on the last corner. Demare slowed down the sprint when Gaviria went so some guys also came around Cav near the line but it was a good test for him, showing he is over his illness ahead of the World Championships.”


Paris-Tours gives Drucker optimism for Qatar

BMC Racing Team’s final European race for the 2016 season was action-packed and saw Floris Gerts riding as part of the day’s breakaway before the peloton stormed towards a hectic bunch sprint with Jempy Drucker crossing the line to round out the top ten at Paris - Tours.


It was a fast start to the 252.5km race with lots of early attacks off the front of the peloton before a breakaway of seven riders, including Floris Gerts, was established.


The group's advantage continued to rise over the first half of the race before settling at around 3 minutes 30 seconds.


Their advantage quickly shrunk to within 1 minute as the chase from the peloton heated up and the sprinters’ teams started to battle for both positions and control of the pace.


 As the race reached the Côte de Crochu and the 25km to go marker, Greg Van Avermaet launched an attack and alongside 4 other riders he was able to clear some space ahead of the main bunch behind.


With the Van Avermaet group brought back by the peloton, the breakaway were finally caught heading into the final 13km of the day.


A strong headwind added to the difficulty of the final section and a burst of acceleration from Fernando Gaviria with 600m to go saw the Etixx - Quick Step rider take the win while Drucker fought it out for the remaining places behind him and eventually crossed the line in tenth place.


Jempy Drucker said:


“It was a long sprint today with Gaviria going from the turn. At one kilometer to go, I wasn’t in a great position but I tried to move up and start my sprint early to move up to the front. Then with around 250m to go I got boxed in and lost a little bit of speed but it was still okay and I didn’t finish too badly. I had a good feeling honestly coming into the race today. My first few races after the Vuelta were a bit hard and I couldn’t really find my rhythm really but the more I do, the better I feel. Binche was good, today was good and I hope that this feeling continues and that next week in Doha is also good.”


Sports Director Yvon Ledanois added:


“It is a totally different Paris - Tours now with the completely flat finale and as a result there were a lot of sprinters in the field and lot of team who were looking to try and take control of the race today. We came into the race looking for opportunities early into the day as we thought a big group could potentially go out in front and it would be good to have Greg Van Avermaet in there. He gave it a good shot at the beginning.


“Eventually Gerts was able to make it into the breakaway and he was working hard in that group but this year, with this configuration, it’s perfect for the sprinters’ teams so a bunch sprint was always likely. That made the race a little but more complicated for us as we don't have one big sprinter and in the finale lots of teams were trying to keep control of the race. We didn’t have a crash, we didn’t have any problems over the course of the race and this is most important thing before the World Championships.”


Waeytens disappointed to miss rare opportunity at Paris-Tours

Today Team Giant-Alpecin participated in the 110th edition of the French one-day race Paris-Tours. Warren Barguil was part of the early break of seven riders. For the team, the aim was to be in a good position for the sprint and to challenge for a good result. It was Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – Quick Step) who proved the fastest to take the win as Zico Waeytens sprinted to 11th place.


Zico Waeytens said: “It is quite disappointing the result today. I was hoping for more in the bunch sprint but I got boxed in which prevented me in doing a good sprint. It’s a shame because the whole team showed a good performance today.”


Coach Arthur van Dongen added: “There was really good teamwork from the guys today because Warren, Sam [Oomen], and Bert [De Backer]were all present in the different breakaways. Unfortunately, when everything came back together for the fast finish we didn’t manage to get a top 10 result.”


Wanty and Jans left frustrated at Paris-Tours

Paris-Tours is the last Classic of the season. Roy Jans finished 12th after the 252-kilometre long race which started in Dreux and finished on the iconic Avenue de Grammont in Tours.


"I couldn't sprint today. I got boxed in the bunch sprint. I had good legs to get a good result", Roy Jans regrets.


It was a fast and predictable race with a leading group and a bunch sprint. The leading group of seven riders - without any Wanty-Groupe Gobert's rider - was caught with 14 kilometres to go.


The Italian riders Marco Marcato and Danilo Napolitano worked hard for the sprinter Roy Jans. Unfortunately Roy Jans got boxed in the bunch sprint.


"I sprinted the final ten meters. I think I could get a better result. I'm in good shape. I still have a last chance on Tuesday in the Nationale Sluitingprijs Putte-Kapellen."


After the race, sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren was a bit disappointed with the performance of the team.


"It was the global repetition of the World Championships with a lot of top sprinters. We missed the leading group and in the last 20 km I didn't see many riders in front of the peloton. I hope a better result in the last race of the year in Putte-Kapellen", Van der Schueren concludes.


Mechanical isolates Bennett in hectic Paris-Tours finale

After Paris – Bourges last Thursday where Sam Bennett took his 3rd season win, Paris – Tours was the second French fall Classic was on the menu. Sam Bennett, Zak Dempster and Scott Thwaites, who all will represent their countries next week in Doha, has marked the race out as an important one.


No Bora-Argon 18 rider was in the break as the team was only focused on a sprint finish today. The goal during the day was to save as much energy as possible. With Michael Schwarzmann and Silvio Herklotz, Bora-Argon 18 worked in the peloton for their leader Sam Bennett.


Zak Dempster and Scott Thwaites again tried to lead out Bennett like last Thursday. They protected hiim from the wind and moved up in the bunch when Cofidis and Lotto Soudal pushed the pace on the front. At about 2km to go, was on his own, but in a promising position on Bouhanni’s wheel.


In the final kilometre Sam Bennett lost a few positions and entered the last corner a little too far back. There was no chance for him to move up again and he finished Paris – Tours in 15th place.


“Sadly one of our lead-out men, Shane Archbold, had some stomach problems today and dropped out at the feed zone. Then also Zak had bad luck when with about 4k to go someone hit his bike and his rear derailleur broke. That’s why Sam was on his own too early. Then it is hard to protect yourself in a good position. So I think this prevented us from taking a better result today, we were missing at least one guy in the final kilometres,” said Steffen Radochla, sports director.


Lammertink abandons final race for Roompot

Like last year, Brian Van Goethem was in front for Roompot. Along with six fellow attackers, the Dutchman was caught 15km from the finish. 'Breakaway Brian’ has again done more than 200 kilometers in the lead in the longest race, the orange riders did this year.


Jesper Asselman (17th) and Raymond Kreder (27th) were the best placed riders from the team. Unfortunately Maurits Lammertink abandoned his last game for Roompot - Orange Peloton. The future Katusha riders Lammertink could not continue after a crash without serious injury.


No luck for Porsev in Paris-Tours sprint

The 110th Paris-Tours Elite took place in France on Sunday with a sprint finish ending the long day. It was the last European race of the 2016 season for Team KATUSHA and the riders were active all day.


Near the end of the 252,5km course from Dreux to Tours, team riders Sergey Lagutin attacked with 10km to go but was caught, setting the scene for the mass sprint finish won by Fernando Gaviria of Etixx-QuickStep.


“Our sprinters did a good race and tried to be in the mix. When Gaviria attacked it was KATUSHA who took responsibility to chase him. Marco Haller and Jacopo Guarnieri tried to do a long sprint but in the end missed the result,” said sports director Gennady Mikhaylov.


The best results from the team were Aleksandr Porsev and Guarnieri who just broke the top 20. 


Young Alexander Maes, 23, has been riding as a trainee for the team since September and was part of the Paris-Tours squad. Director Mikhaylov liked what he saw from the Belgian rider.


“Maes was very good. He helped his other teammates a lot during the entire day and proved he has a bright future,” said Mikhaylov.


Viviani with mixed emotions after disappointing Paris-Tours

Elia Viviani was denied the chance to sprint for the win at Paris-Tours by winner Fernando Gaviria's late attack.


Gaviria (Etixx - Quick-Step) took the peloton by surprise by launching his sprint with 500 metres to go and he stayed away from the chasing fast men, celebrating as he crossed the line.


Viviani had looked perfectly positioned as the bunch went under the flamme rouge, with first Michal Golas and then Owain Doull, racing in Team Sky colours for the first time, bringing the Italian to the front, but then Gaviria made his opportunistic move and Viviani found himself swamped as the peloton battled to get back on terms.


Gaviria ripped up the bunch sprint script though, and took his first Paris-Tours win in solo style, with Viviani leading Team Sky home in 23rd.


“Sorry to my super @TeamSky boys today, fantastic job!Not happy with my results but I'm feeling good. It's a consolation,” he tweeted after the race.


Hofland misses out in Paris-Tours, Wynants on the attack

Paris-Tours ended without a LottoNL-Jumbo rider upfront in the final kick into town, where Fernando Gaviria (Etixx) celebrated victory today. Maarten Wynants survived many kilometres in the breakaway, but the group caught him in the final in Tours.


"It was a predictable course,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “With a view to the Worlds, the hills were removed in the final and that made it even more of a sprinters’ race."


“You know with so many sprinters’ teams that it is hard to survive in an escape, but for that small chance it works out, it's just good to have someone there. Maarten Wynants had the intention to get into the breakaway and he succeeded. "


After the group nailed down the escape, several riders attacked. A bunch sprint was written on the wall, however. Team LottoNL-Jumbo supported Van Asbroeck and Hofland.


"In the final it went wrong, we had the plan to sprint with Moreno Hofland, but the riders lost each other in the hectic final,” Engels added. “In the last kilometres, there was no control in the peloton."


"It was a long day given that you’re almost certain it is going to end in a bunch gallop into Tours,” Wynants explained. “Also without wind, there’s no chance for echelons to make it interesting.


“You have to start with different ambitions. For me, the goal was to make the break. It was quite a fight but after 30 kilometres, we drove clear.


"You hope that sprinters’ teams look at each other and leave a big gap to the escapees. Four minutes was not enough in a race of 250 kilometres. In the final, the pack began to accelerate and it was over."


In recent weeks, Wynants showed that he is in form even with the end of the season in sight.


"Perhaps for that very reason, I want to start the winter with a good feeling. It's great that I’m going well, but I’m ready for this long season to end."


Frustration for Dan McLay in Paris-Tours

Fortuneo-Vital Concept had Arnaud Gerard in the break. It was his third time in the escape since 2012.  McLay maneuvered well to get into position for the final sprint but failed to finish in the top 10.


Arnaud Gerard said:


"I like Paris-Tours is a race that suits me and I am often active. Of course I would prefer to win but I'm glad I finished the season on a high. I did everything to fulfill my role by being present in front to save our sprinters. Now that the season ends, I will recharge the batteries and give myself a break. No bike for three weeks. But I am already looking forward to starting 2017. I have things to prove.”


Dan McLay said:


"When Gaviria attacked the peloton bunched up and I found myself boxed in at the time I wanted to start my sprint. There's a little frustration, especially after the good work of the whole team but it's going in the right direction. I now focus on the World Championships.”


Sports director Sébastien Hinault said:


"We knew it would be complicated for Arnaud and the other attackers. Our other six riders have done a great job around Dan. He was disappointed because he was boxed in when the group slowed down. Even if the results is not what we hoped, for I'm pleased with the efforts of the team.”


Astana: It could have been better

"It could have gone better,” said Astana sports director Stefano Zanini. “Tleubayev and Guardini were preparing the sprint but, like the rest of the peloton, they were preceded by Fernando Gaviria’s winning attack.”


Both Tleubayev that Guardini arrived just behind the first part of the bunch.



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