Van Avermaet Sprints to Second on Stage 4 in California18. May 2016, Monterey Country, California (USA) — Road Team
In a dramatic and chaotic final kilometer, Greg Van Avermaet put his sprinting skills to the test on Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of Califonia, crossing the line second on the raceway finish in Monterey County
Despite multiple attempts, it took 70km of racing for a seven rider breakaway to establish a lead, which they held for the majority of the race.
With 15 kilometres to go, the peloton led by Rohan Dennis started to put pressure on the leading group and eventually a depleted peloton entered the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Despite numerous attacks on the track, the stage went down to a final sprint for the line that was won by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) closely followed by Van Avermaet.
There was also top ten finishes on for BMC Racing Team’s Brent Bookwalter and Rohan Dennis who finished 4th and 7th respectively on the 217km stage. Bookwalter also maintained his fourth spot on the GC and now sits 40 seconds behind race leader, Julian Alaphilippe (Ettixx-Quick-step)
Quotes of the day
Greg Van Avermaet said: “I’m feeling pretty good after that stage. It would have better if we could have won a stage already but in the end it was a good day for us and I’m pretty happy with my form after coming back from my crash in Flanders. I think Brent and Rohan had a really good day in GC and everything went pretty well.”
“For me, on the uphill sections I tried to follow as if you know there is a good finish for you, you can always hang on longer. So, I tried to get over the climbs and the team did a really good job today keeping the pace pretty high. In the end, there was a little bit of gambling about how the finish would go. I’ve beaten [Peter] Sagan a few times already but this time he won so next time I will have to try and beat him again.”
Sport director, Jackson Stewart said: “In the final there was a really select group of riders with the favourite guys for the stage and then the GC contenders so it made for a really fast pace. Plus there were a lot of little attacks at the end so everyone had to chase really hard and once you drop down onto the race track, you’re looking at the sprint and it was a really fast finish to end an equally fast stage.“
“There was a layer of details in our plans for the stage. Greg in the final was a key part of it but we also wanted to protect our GC and put pressure on the other teams to hopefully make them a little more tired in the final so we could be stronger but all in all it was good for us. All the guys were riding well, it was big team effort from us today and we got on the podium so we are happy with that.”
Tour of California (UCI 2.HC)
Stage 4: Morro Bay - Monterey County, 217km
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 3. Nathan Haas (Team Dimension Data)
BMC Racing Team Top 3:
2. Greg Van Avermaet
4. Brent Bookwalter
7. Rohan Dennis
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.