Quick-Step Floors and its Colombian fast man dominated the bunch sprints at the 13th edition of the US race.
Fernando Gaviria claimed his 30th victory in the Quick-Step Floors jersey on the final day of the Tour of California after a nail-biting sprint, which saw the 23-year-old beat Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) with a perfectly-timed bike throw over the line in downtown Sacramento.
The fifth different city in history to serve as capital for the state of California, Sacramento welcomed the peloton for the tenth time since the race's inception, with a circuit around Capitol Park, where the sprinters battled it out after the original four-man break had been caught inside the last five kilometers, on the local circuit.
Quick-Step Floors' lead-out train took the front with two kilometers to go, and was so powerful that the men in blue dislodged all the other riders from their wheel. Fernando Gaviria hit it out early, and despite his rivals gaining ground in the closing meters, he had enough to hold them off for our team's 33rd victory of the season.
"I couldn't be happier! When I came into the race I wasn't thinking of winning all three flat stages, so now that I've done it, I am super delighted. The green jersey wasn't a goal at the start, but it came along with the three victories, and it's a nice bonus after what has been a hard and challenging race."
The prodigious Colombian – whose next appointment will be the Tour de Suisse in June – had only words of praise for his teammates, who led him to a clean sweep of the bunch sprints at the US World Tour race: "My team was magnificent! They helped me every time, chasing the escapees, protecting me and delivering a perfect lead-out. All my results couldn't have been possible without this team and it makes me proud to have such remarkable and dedicated guys by my side."
Also for Laurens De Plus the Tour of California will be a race he'll always remember, as the 22-year-old Belgian – whose form is on the rise since making his return in the pack three weeks ago – finished eighth overall for his best World Tour result since turning pro at the start of 2016, a confirmation of the talent that recommended him for a bright future since years ago, when he was one of the dominant riders on the U23 scene.
The three stage wins of Fernando Gaviria and Laurens De Plus' impressive result in the general classification helped Quick-Step Floors retain its top position in the World Tour team standings, which will be topped by our outfit for the ninth week since the start of the season.
Photo credit: ©Christopher Graythen/ Getty Images