With just a few days left before the start of the race, we spoke with Fernando Gaviria about his season so far and how he prepared for the biggest event of the year.
My third season in the Quick-Step Floors jersey got off to a great start, with a stage win in Argentina and three victories at home, in Colombia Oro y Paz, and the results were important for my confidence, as I was building up the form for the Spring Classics. Unfortunately, that crash on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico put me out of the game for several weeks and it was really tough to cope with, because Milano-Sanremo was a big goal and a race I dream of winning one day.
In the end, injuries are part of the sport and once you experience such a moment, you've got to move forward quickly and set new goals. That's just what I did, going back to Columbia, where I immediately started working on my comeback, which meant a lot of physiotherapy and hours spent in the gym. The results could be seen soon, as I returned to the peloton at the Tour of California, a race I've never done before, but which I liked, with its nice fans, stunning surroundings and completely different atmosphere from the one in Europe.
Three victories and a close encounter
Winning three stages from as many opportunities and taking the green jersey boded really well for the Tour de France, but I didn't rest on my laurels after the race, going to an altitude training camp to South Lake Tahoe with some of my teammates. We knew beforehand that bears were roaming that area, but we never met one while out training. Instead, they paid us a visit and I'm sure you've seen those pictures. We were training when our soigneur texted us after returning from the grocery store, sending photos of the broken door, open fridge and ice cream all over the floor. That was incredible, just imagine how it would have been to come back and find the bear in the fridge.
Anyway, that wasn't the end of this adventure. That evening we heard the bears around the cabin and at one moment I heard Iljo – who was sleeping in the next room – scream. I rushed over and could see that a bear was standing just a few centimeters of Iljo, rubbing his nose against the window. It was funny but at the same time pretty scary.
All roads lead to the Tour de France
From the US we flew over to Europe for the Tour de Suisse, which was a tough race with a lot of climbing, but I can't complain, because it was perfect for my preparation, even though I didn't win a stage. Now, with the Tour de France getting closer and closer, I won't lie to you: I'm a bit nervous, which I think it's only normal, because it will be a whole new experience for me, racing the biggest and most important event of the season for the first time.
The best riders in the world will be at the start and I look forward to pin a number on my jersey and see how things go. I haven't set any particular goal, but I know there will be many opportunities for sprinters and I will fight for a victory. The team is in high spirits, we come here with confidence and motivation after what has been a brilliant first part of the season, and we hope to keep the ball rolling.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images