Fifth for Van Avermaet at Milan-San Remo19. March 2016, San Remo (ITA) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet has crossed the line in fifth place in a bunch sprint at the first monument of the season, Milan-San Remo.
Arnaud Démare (FDJ) was a surprise winner, and Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) rounded out the podium.
An 11 rider breakaway was pulled back with 24km to go, making way for numerous attacks as the race heated up. A crash in the final kilometer which saw Fernando Gaviria (Etixx Quick-Step) go down led to a disrupted bunch sprint.
“Fifth place is a good result but as you know when you do a bike race you go for the win. It was a pretty hectic Milan-San Remo. I went with Edvald Boasson-Hagen and made the decision to wait a bit longer for my sprint. It all comes down to seconds and the others came from behind with more speed,” Van Avermaet explained.
“It’s a good feeling to be in front of the other Classics favorites. I’m pretty happy with my shape and how the race went. The guys did a really good job for me. They positioned me well on Cipressa and the Poggio and then it was up to me to get the best result possible and that’s what we did.”
BMC Racing Team Sports Director Valerio Piva said the team did an excellent job of supporting Van Avermaet.
“Our plan for today was of course to go for the win with Greg. We planned to stay up there at the front and respond to any attacks on the Poggio, to stay calm and really put him in a good position in the final part of the race,” Piva said.
“Greg did a great job. He responded to Boasson Hagen’s attack in the final two kilometers and held his wheel to form a gap but eventually it all came back together. It was a nervous and hectic sprint. Greg had the legs today to do better, but it’s Milan-San Remo and you can never control what happens. In the end he was the best placed of the top favorites and I’m really proud of the team’s work today.”
Van Avermaet’s fifth place has elevated him to second place in the UCI WorldTour rankings, behind Richie Porte.
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