Alessandro Petacchi, winner of 48 Grand Tour stages, has praised Quick-Step Floors rider Fernando Gaviria and compared him with with Peter Sagan.
Petacchi owns an apartment in Lido di Cameiore in Tuscany, and he has chosen to rent it out to Fernando Gaviria.
“Fernando wants to base himself in Italy. I’m close friends with his Quick-Step Floors teammate Fabio Sabatini and he asked if my place was available,” Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I also spoke to Gaviria’s agent Giovanni Lombardi and it was all arranged quickly. I understand he wants to have his family there.”
The Colombian has impressed in his first season in the WorldTour with stage victories in races like the Tour de San Luis, the Tour de Pologne, Tirreno-Adriatico, and by winning the 2016 edition of Paris-Tours.
“I think he’s the new Sagan. He is a phenomenon,” said Petacchi. “He really is a genius and I enjoy a lot the way he moves in the peloton.”
Gaviria crashed in the final meters of last year’s Milan – SanRemo, when he had a great chance of winning his first Monument.
“I’m sure he’ll be a protagonist this year [in Milan-San Remo] and in the sprints at the Giro d’Italia. He’s a year older, he’s more confident in his ability and has the support of a really strong team.
“I’d picked him as my favourite last year because I’d see how well he was riding at Tirreno-Adriatico. With the finish back on the Via Roma, the rising road suited him perfectly.
“He closed a gap on his own in the last kilometre and so had the legs to win. I worked out why he crashed: he was on the right but wanted to be on the left to avoid being closed, and to use the width of the road for his sprint. When he moved, he touched Van Avermaet’s wheel. He cried afterwards because he knew he could have won it.”, says Petacchi.