The UCI WorldTour Chronicle
– What happened? –
Tour de France debutant Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) could not have got off to a better start in men’s cycling’s top stage race, as the Colombian powered to victory in a tumultuous opening bunch sprint in Fontenay-le-Comte. The winner of four stages in his debut Giro d’Italia in 2017, the 23-year-old’s latest Grand Tour victory also netted Gaviria Colombia’s first yellow jersey in the Tour de France since Victor Hugo Peña briefly held the race lead in 2003. It was also Gaviria’s eighth victory of 2018, which has included three stages of the Amgen Tour of California.
Stage two went to a much more familiar face in the Tour de France - reigning UCI World Champion and UCI WorldTour leader Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe). Having won his first Tour stage back in 2012, Sagan claimed his ninth victory of the race in another fraught, crash-marred finale in La Roche-sur-Yon, which also saw the Slovakian oust Gaviria from the overall lead.
Sagan thus returns to the Tour de France’s overall lead for the first time since 2016, when he also won stage two - and held the maillot jaune for three days. Although Sagan is logically pessimistic about his chances of overall victory, the 28-year-old admitted to having an eye on a record-equalling sixth victory in the Tour de France’s points classification.
– What’s on? –
Tour de France Saturday July 7th - Sunday July 29th
– Photo of the week –
– Focus on Tao Geoghegan Hart –
When, as a teenager, Tao Geoghegan Hart wandered into a central London bike shop in 2009 and asked for a Saturday job, he could barely have dreamed that it would form part of his path to professional racing.
The bike shop, Condor Cycle, provided the junior racer not only with work, but also with equipment and bikes for his rapidly flourishing career. From 2014 to 2016, Tao Geoghegan Hart then rode for the North American Continental U-23 Development squad, Axeon Hagens Berman, before signing for Team Sky in 2017.
Whilst the 23-year-old’s best individual pro results so far have largely come in the USA, with an eighth and fifth place overall in the Amgen Tour of California, arguably his most impressive racing performance to date was his strong support role in the mountains of the 2018 Critérium du Dauphiné for team-mate and overall winner Geraint Thomas. And a first pro victory of his own for the young Londoner is surely not that far away.