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Former coronavirus victim Fernando Gaviria pulverised all comers in a bunch sprint finish on stage two of the Tour of Burgos on Wednesday, hours after three of his teammates pulled out of the race due to COVID-19 concerns.
UAE Team Emirates rider Gaviria was quarantined for a month when falling sick with the virus in March, but the 25-year-old Colombian put in a fully convincing finish with his late pounce at Burgos.
"It's one of the sweetest tasting victories this year, because of the whole hiatus and what's happened with the virus," Gaviria told a video conference after the race.
Bora-hansgrohe's Felix Grossschartner maintains the overall lead after winning Tuesday's stage by a clear eight seconds.
This second stage of the five-day race was a pancake flat 168km run from Castrojeriz to Villadiego with a slow-paced peloton despite the 15 World Tour teams on the race in comparison to four last season.
The whole peloton geared up for the bunch sprint which took off after a 90 degree bend in the road 500m from the finish line.
The powerfully-built Gaviria reacted best and opened up a comfortable gap before easing over the line with his arms aloft ahead of Frenchman Arnaud Demare, Sam Bennett and Matteo Trentin.
By contrast, struggling British sprinter Mark Cavendish was not in the mix, despite the pedestrian pace set over the race.
UAE Team Emirates withdrew three of their cyclists ahead of Wednesday's start as a precautionary measure after the trio had been in contact with someone outside the race who tested positive for coronavirus.
The team were previously in the spotlight in late February when the last two stages of the UAE Tour were scrapped, with two of the outfit's stars testing positive for the virus and being quarantined.
The Tour of Burgos is the first professional cycling race since the March cancellation of the final stage of the Paris-Nice.
At the UAE Tour, top Colombian sprinter Gaviria fell ill and spent a month in quarantine while his lead-out man Maximiliano Richeze also tested positive.