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Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria of UAE-Team Emirates is just one of my cyclists in the pro peloton who is deeply religious. And these days he can be seen wearing his faith proudly with an oversized medallion around his neck. He had the jewelry hand-made just for him.
“Actually, I have a smaller one that I usually wear in races,” Gaviria told VeloNews while racing the Vuelta Ciclista San Juan last week. “But it broke, so for the time being at least I am wearing my big one.”
Gaviria, 25, hails from the Antioquia region of Northwest Colombia, and he burst onto the international scene in at the 2015 edition of the Vuelta a San Juan, when he defeated Mark Cavendish in a bunch sprint. He was just 20 years old at the time.
Since then it’s been a whirlwind five-year run for Gaviria, with plenty of chaotic sprints, victories, and setbacks. He’s collected seven grand tour stage victories and plenty of one-day wins, switched from one high-profile team to another, and battled broken bones and injuries. The hardware has followed him from race to race, and it’s a safe bet that fans will see the golden medallion draped around his neck throughout 2020 and beyond.
There’s big pressure riding on Gaviria in 2020. Can he finally win a Monument like Milano-Sanremo? How will he fare in the grand tour bunch sprints against rising stars Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step)? Only time provide answers for fans of the Colombian speedster.
One thing is for certain, the large metal necklace didn’t slow Gaviria down any at this year’s Vuelta San Juan, as the 25-year-old speedster won three stages in his season-opening race. Stay tuned to velonews.com for an upcoming story on the Colombian sprint king.