Van Avermaet Wraps Up Successful Classics Season at Liège-Bastogne-Liège23. April 2017, Ans (BEL) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet wrapped up the most-successful Classics season of his career at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, narrowly missing the top ten in a thrilling finale which saw him cross the line in eleventh place.
An early move of eight riders went clear after 14km and with the peloton sitting up, the breakaway’s advantage reached more than 13 minutes after 100km of racing.
The peloton waited until 50km before the finish line in Ans to really pick up the pace and shortly after, Alessandro De Marchi attacked off the front of the bunch with six other riders. The group hovered ahead of the peloton as the gap to the breakaway came down to five minutes.
By the time the peloton caught the De Marchi group just after Cote de la Redoute, the breakaway’s advantage continued to fall.
A large group remained with 20km to go, including Van Avermaet, Damiano Caruso and Dylan Teuns. As the attacks from the bunch started, Damiano Caruso was quick to cover every move and eventually he was part of a strong eight-rider group that went clear.
Behind, Van Avermaet remained in the bunch and as the race reached the final 10km, it was anyone’s race to win. Attacks from Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and David Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) sent the peloton into chase mode with Formolo hanging off the front solo until 500m to go.
The sprint from behind was lead by winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), with Dan Martin (Quickstep-Floors) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) rounding out the podium.
Van Avermaet put in an impressive display after a long Classics season to finish just seven seconds behind.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I am really happy with my race today. It was good to have the big group at the end for me to be able to get the result that I did. With a race like this, it’s the legs that decide who wins here in Ans. I had good legs but they weren’t good enough for a podium result and to follow the strongest guys. I had the legs but it was the freshness that was missing a bit, after the big season that I have had since Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It’s not easy for me to win a race like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and I think you need to have a different preparation. Maybe I’ll try again but we’ll have to see next season.”
“I think it was really a good spring, the best spring in my career with these nice wins. I tried my best today and you have to try so I can’t be disappointed. I’m really happy that I’m still the leader of the UCI WorldTour after the Classics. Now, I’m ready to have a break.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“I am very happy with today’s performance from the team. We didn’t get a top ten result but the plan was to wait for the final as a team. The team was there to support Greg and were around him in the final, as well as Dylan Teuns who was also up there. We went in all of the moves and in the end Greg was just a little bit too short in the final. I think the reason was clear, the season was long for him and it’s almost impossible to be competitive from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Liège-Bastogne-Liège and try to win every race. The other competitors came from another program. The difference was not big but big enough to make the difference in the final.”
“This is the most-successful Classics season that Greg has ever had, and also BMC Racing Team. It is thanks to Greg and the team that we had a fantastic start to the season. If someone had said to me at the beginning of the season that this would be our Classics season, I would have signed immediately. I’m very happy and now we turn the page and start to focus on the big stage races.”
Liège > Ans (258km)
Top 3: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), 2. Dan Martin (Quickstep-Floors), 3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 11. Greg Van Avermaet, 24. Dylan Teuns, 31. Damiano Caruso