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'Gaviria is special and he will beat Kittel and Cavendish': Brain Holm tips the Colombian to become the new sprint king

Joe Robinson
9 Jan 2018

The once-shy Colombian has now released from his shell and is ready to take on the Tour de France

Four stage victories and the overal points classification marked a dominant debut Grand Tour performance for Fernando Gaviria in the 2017 Giro d'Italia.

Looking ahead to 2018, the young Colombian is turning his attentions to the Tour de France and Quick-Step sports director Brian Holm believes he is ready to topple Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) as the bunch sprint kings.

Speaking to Cyclist during a team training camp in Calpe, Spain, the enigmatic Dane was adamant of the qualities of Gaviria and how he believes this could be the year he beats the likes of Kittel and Cavendish.

'Gaviria is special, for sure. There is something special about the way he rides. I know he is going to win, I don't know when but he is going to win a lot,' Holm said.

'Without doubt, he will beat Kittel and Cavendish, of that I am sure. Remember he is young and every year he gets a little stronger and they get a little older.'

The success of Gaviria is talked about as a given by Holm but he does realise the qualities of his competitors, noting that 'you would be stupid to ever underestimate Cavendish', a rider the team director considers a personal friend.

Being young, Holm believes that Gaviria is more likely to take risks, even in the smaller races. This hunger is what his team believes gives him the edge over the more established sprinters.

'When sprinters get older, they have a wife and kids, they take less risks. They will only go fully in the Tour and Milan-San Remo,' Holm admitted.

'But Gaviria is young and he is willing to risk his life in every sprint for the win.'

As a 23-year-old Spanish speaking rider joining a Belgian team, it can be expected that settling in was less than easy. 

Holm recounts speaking to Kittel, when the German rode for Quick-Step, about Gaviria. Halfway through a conversation, Gaviria simply walked away from his teammate mid-sentence, causing confusion for Kittel.

However since first joining the team, Gaviria has integrated further into the team, learning English and becoming more approachable.

'What I like is that Fernando has really tried when it comes to learning English. I have managed Colombians in the past and they haven't learned English,' Holm said.

'Gaviria has made the effort and that makes him special.'

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