Van Avermaet Seventh at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne26. February 2017, Kuurne (BEL) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet continued his run of top ten finishes for the 2017 season when he sprinted to seventh place at a tough edition of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
The peloton set a cracking pace for the first hour with 48.5km covered and prevented a breakaway from forming, despite multiple attempts.
Eventually, nine riders went clear and built an advantage of more than four minutes. As was the case the case at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, there was a decisive moment when the peloton split and opened up the race.
With 76km remaining, a group of sixteen riders, including Greg Van Avermaet, Stefan Küng, Silvan Dillier and Jempy Drucker, forged on ahead of the peloton and began the chase for the remaining breakaway riders.
The catch was made with 30km to go as the small group made began the first of two 15km laps of the finish circuit, after which Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) attacked.
Four riders bridged to Stuyven, including eventual winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansrgohe), and established a 30-second advantage over the BMC Racing Team group.
Despite attempts to the bring the group back, the gap was too large and Van Avermaet was left to sprint for the remaining top ten places.
Van Avermaet’s seventh place at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, following his victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, concludes the most successful opening weekend of the Belgian’s career.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“It was a good race. It was not a bunch sprint today which was the most important thing because we opened up the race really early. I think the team was really good in front but then when we hit the local laps we were a bit stupid maybe, and we didn’t react at the good moment. Five guys went away without us and this was a really bad situation. I think we have to concentrate on the good things, which was my win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad yesterday. This is the most important thing. Today it would have been nice to win, but Nieuwsblad is a little more important with it being UCI WorldTour.”
“It was my best opening weekend so far in my career. The team was really good also today. We had four guys at the front so I’m really happy with this. I think we will be good for this Classics season and hopefully I will get a little stronger.”
“We did a good move, a perfect race, until the last two laps where our riders were surprised by the move of Stuyven and then the reaction of Sagan. The guys tried to react and pull but they could not close. So we were never able to make it back and it was clear that the best riders went in front. We chased but unfortunately we didn’t have the power. We did a mistake but it’s a lesson learned. The team was strong with four riders in the crucial move of the race and this is something that gives us confidence.”
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), 2. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), 3. Luke Rowe (Team Sky).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 7. Greg Van Avermaet, 15. Stefan Küng, 16. Silvan Dillier