• Colombia's Fernando Gaviria celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Slovakia's Peter Sagan (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Quick-Step Floors sports director Brian Holm anticipates more of the same from Tour de France debutant Fernando Gaviria after the Colombian validated the hype long associated with his name yesterday.
Sophie Smith

8 Jul 2018 - 8:02 AM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2018 - 8:05 AM

Gaviria nullified nerves to win his maiden stage and the first yellow jersey of the race ahead of Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), virtually untouchable with a surplus of teammates in the stage one bunch sprint.  

“He’s a little bit like a light version of Mark Cavendish; he can be grumpy, he can be angry, is fast as hell when he has to be and then he is happy afterwards. He’s one of the boys,” Holm said.

Carnage early in the battle for yellow
It was supposed to be a quiet day for the general classification contenders, a 201 kilometre stroll down the coast from Noirmoutier-en-l'Île to Fontenay-le-Comte. Some of the favourites for yellow came crashing back to reality.
Favourites crash as Gaviria takes Tour de France yellow
The 2018 Tour de France got underway with Fernando Gaviria winning a chaotic finale at the end of the 201km stage from Noirmoutier-en-l'Île to Fontenay-le-Comte.

The 23-year-old began to feel nervous about his race debut last month but didn’t hesitate yesterday and is unlikely to now with a win under his belt, the yellow jersey on his back and faith from the team that he can claim the points classification.

“He was nervous in the Tour de Suisse about the Tour,” Holm said. “He was training yesterday and on a coffee break was very quiet and focused, like all good sprinters.

“As a Colombian he has big pressure, not from the team, we know you win and lose here, but from home, from the Colombian press. I think they’ve stressed him a little bit so for him I think it was a big release to win today.”

Gaviria was assigned two lead-out men this year in Max Richeze and Iljo Keisse with a view to Tour preparation. The only criticism from the pair has been that Gaviria needs to learn to brake. Keisse withdrew from team selection through illness but Quick-Step Floors has become as synonymous with sprinting as it has the spring classics.

Holm hopes that will collectively come into play on stage two today, which may see crosswinds assail the peloton.

“It’s going to be a bit of the same story, maybe some teams are going to save their legs a little bit for the team time trial [on stage three],” he said.

“We’ve got the tractor Tim Declercq, a big, big Belgian. He’s going to pull from kilometre zero and I think we have a fair chance to win again tomorrow. Hopefully there will be a bit more wind and we can blow the bunch into pieces.”