Quick-Step Floors rider Fernando Gaviria claimed victory in Stage 1 of the Tour of California in Long Beach earlier this morning, winning a bunch sprint ahead of Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan.
It was a 30th win of the 23-year-old Colombian’s career and featured an angry exchange with Jasper Philipsen, though the pair reconciled after the race.
"I don't know if I'm surprised," Gaviria said in the post-race press conference, when asked if he expected to be on this level of form after a long break. "I've been training at home and training for that, and I think it's good to come back and win."
Gaviria missed the Classics season after suffering an injury in the Tirreno-Adriatico in mid-March, only returning in the recent Tour of Romandie.
"After that I went to Eschborn-Frankfurt and the legs were better, and now I've come back for the win here, and am really happy for this," he added.
Runner-up Ewan admitted that Gaviria was too strong in the final sprint: "It was a pretty straightforward race today, although it was a pretty hectic finish,” he said.
"My team was great and got me where I needed to be for the sprint, but Fernando did a great sprint."
African team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s highest finisher was Mark Cavendish, who came home in 10th place.