Fernando Gaviria yes or no? Should Movistar Team renew the Colombian or sign another sprinter?

Fernando Gaviria is not yet 30 years old, yet it seems that the zenith of his career passed long ago, as his victories in the Giro d'Italia (2017 and 2019) and the Tour de France (2018) are far behind him. Joxeán Fernández Matxín, manager at UAE Team Emirates, railed against him in his final year at UAE Team Emirates insinuating that he wasn't trying hard enough. He left the UAE squad in 2022 and signed for 2 years with Movistar Team.

It was a new adventure for both: after triumphing at Quick-Step and in his first year at UAE, Fernando had been stuck for 3 years and a change of scenery was perfect for him. The Spanish team, for its part, was looking to diversify its way of scoring points by signing a pure sprinter, something that is unusual in its history.

Thus, the rider from La Ceja didn't start his stint badly with a win in the Vuelta a San Juan and a second place behind Dylan Groenewegen in the UAE Tour. Then, however, he has not finished showing great form and, beyond a second place in Milan-Torino, the rest of 2023 was of little relevance with a disappointing Giro d'Italia and being left out at the last minute of the team for the Vuelta a España.

2024 began with a victory in the Tour Colombia and then with an unglamorous passage through UAE Tour, Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem and Vuelta a Asturias. In the Giro d'Italia he has achieved a fourth place as best position: very good UCI points for his team, but with the feeling that the rider does not give for more.

Fernando has finished 6 times in the top 10 and once eleventh in a Corsa Rosa dominated by Jonathan Milan and Tim Merlier. Not having beaten any of them is not to be criticized by the Colombian. The problem is that we have seen a Movistar Team working really well, trying to place him perfectly in each sprint and we have seen him many times wanting to go his own way, losing the wheel of a wonderful Albert Torres and Davide Cimolai who did it again and again to perfection.

It has given the feeling that Gaviria had legs and that, sometimes for jumping too early, sometimes for losing the wheel of his teammates and sometimes for jumping late, he has not even achieved a top 3. Can Fernando Gaviria regain confidence in himself to choose the right time to attack? As we have said he has seemed to have legs in many stages and that the reason for not having come closer to victory seems rather mental, although it has been many years in the same situation...

The question Movistar should ask itself

So, taking into account that in UCI points cycling having a sprinter seems necessary to score points in many stages of all kinds of stage-races and classics and that with Cimolai and Torres Movistar Team seems to have started to create a decent trio. The question they should ask themselves is whether they want to give Fernando Gaviria another year to try or they want to sign another fast man to take his place who may be able to give them some victory in races of some renown.

In any case, with the more than certain loss of Alex Aranburu, the Movistar have to comb the market because they are in need of fast men beyond whether they want Gaviria to continue or not.

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