“A serial killer is typically a person who murders three or more people, usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification.” — wikipedia
“A serial killer,” says Quick-Step Floors team manager Patrick Lefevere of his talented Colombian sprinter Fernando Garavia.
A bit of drama and hyperbole from Lefevere and we can safely throw out the murders and “abnormal psychological gratification.”
Or wait, perhaps just the murders. Any star athlete has to have that killer instinct and in cycling that’s a trait you can find in vintage Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Chris Froome, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen, to name just a few.
There’s a nasty edge to people who feel driven to win everything and anything, all the time. As Richie Porte learned last year, even his good friend and best mate Froome was willing to convince Porte’s rivals to gang up on him during the Dauphine. And if winning the Vuelta a Espana requires a few extra puffs if salbutamol that might push over the legal limit, then let’s grab the inhaler.
Still only 23, Gaviria seems mature beyond his years and skillful at learning his lessons at a faster speed than most. Fast twitch fibers, sprinter synapses and a quick mental uptake. He’s in a hurry and accelerating through the pack.
“I’ve been improving in my way of thinking, the way of seeing things. I still do certain things in a ‘rookie’ way, but I’ve been changing everything, trying to improve my training, my eating – evolving in order to become a great rider,” said the Colombian. Keep in mind, barely into his twenties.
We first learned Gaviria was a killer two years ago in the Tour of San Luis when he won two stages, beating King Cavendish. People took immediate notice and his star has been climbing every since.
Then in last year’s Giro d’Italia he smoked everyone for four stage wins, proving that Italy and a grand tour stage wasn’t over his head. That kind of confidence will certainly hone the killer instinct.
Gaviria’s talent is so shockingly obvious that Quickstep’s other star sprinter Marcel Kittel, a man who won five stages in the 2017 Tour de France, couldn’t even be sure he’d get the lead dog role in France. The German saw the future and decided his ambitions were better served at Katusha this season.
Gaviria isn’t comparing himself to Kittel, Cavendish or anyone else. “All cyclists want to be like the great riders we admire. It’s tricky – at the moment matching Gilbert seems like something impossible, the same with Boonen. It’s complicated but, working every day, I will try and live up to them, and why not try and win many more things.”
Sure, why not, young man? You’re a stone cold serial killer.