Van Avermaet Finishes Fourth at Binck Bank Tour After Final Battle on the Muur13. August 2017, Geraardsbergen, (BEL) — Road Team
Binck Bank Tour drew to a close today with an explosive finale that saw Greg Van Avermaet fighting all the way to the line on the Muur van Geraardsbergen before finishing seventh on the stage and slipping into fourth place overall.
Stage 7 took the race into iconic Flemish Classics terrain with the peloton covering 40km, of the 191.3km course, before seven riders were finally able to go clear and with two chasers bridging across, the group began to build up an advantage over the rest of the field.
However, with a final battle of the General Classification contenders brewing, the peloton kept a watchful eye on the front of the race with the leaders’ advantage sitting comfortably at around the two-minute mark heading into the second, and much hillier, half of the stage.
The pace steadily began to pick up behind the breakaway, and with 51.2km to go, as the riders crossed the finish line for the first of two laps of a 25.6km circuit that started and finished on the steep slopes of the Muur van Geraardsbergen, the peloton was trailing by just one minute.
Going over the top of the infamous climb, the main bunch was spread out along the road before sweeping up what was left of the breakaway as just Tony Martin (Team Katusha), and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) were holding onto an advantage out at the head of the race.
The duo’s advantage was allowed to extend once more and with 40km to go, they were sitting 1’20” ahead of the main bunch as a handful of riders tried to bridge across. However, with the speed and the motivation of the chase behind, the race was brought back together one of the toughest sections of the Muur with 25km to go.
The race exploded almost immediately as a series of attacks split the field with Van Avermaet well-positioned when a select group of 15 riders was drawn out at the front. But, in the end, the various chase groups behind made contact with the leaders and despite attacks continuing to roll off the front, the reduced bunch was still all together as they headed into the final 10km of the day.
On the penultimate 700m cobbled climb, the Dederoorbeg, Van Avermaet launched a stinging attack and pulled with him a select group of key players for both the overall General Classification and the stage win just 4km from home.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) launched the ultimately winning move on the run into the final climb to the line and was able to put daylight between himself and the rest of the group before going on to take the day’s honors by a margin of just one second.
Van Avermaet continued to push hard in the chasing group behind, leading the riders on to the cobbles for the final time and was the first to launch his sprint, gritting his teeth as he made his way up to the line before eventually being forced to settle for seventh.
After taking ten bonus seconds following his stage win, Stuyven pushed Van Avermaet into fourth on the General Classification, 51 seconds behind the overall winner, Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I was pretty good today I think. My legs were where I hoped they would be but I maybe made a mistake with my tactics and trying to go on the last climb. There was no cooperation, and you know that there can be a counter attack and that came from Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segaredo). I couldn't follow anymore, and I maybe lost a little bit of energy for my sprint. In the end, I think I made a mistake in going for the win there, but that’s how it is.”
“It is always hard, and I would have liked to have been third but I think I have to be happy with fourth, but at the moment I am disappointed as I lost a few seconds that were not necessary. I had to focus on one guy, but I wanted to win the stage and finish third, and in the end, I lost the stage and moved down to fourth. Sometimes cycling can be hard, and it is also hard to get over this right after the finish. Tomorrow, it will be fine and fourth place on the GC is not so bad.”
“Overall my shape was really good, and I am happy with what I have done over the last three days. I was always top ten and always in front. I think Quebec and Montreal are my most important races for scoring some points in the UCI WorldTour and the World Championships is the last goal for the season.”
“I had a good start to this race with the TT win and wearing the leader’s jersey, but I also felt a little bit of fatigue from the Tour de France and the last few months have been pretty intense. I also had a bit of bad luck in Sittard-Geleen, so that stopped me from finishing high on the GC. Today, I got some good feelings back, and we tried to set Greg Van Avermaet up for the stage win and to defend his third place overall. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but I think it has been a good week and for me, it was great to see that I am really up there amongst the best time trialists in the world.”
“I think now I have some time to rest and recharge the batteries because there are still a few big goals to come especially with the UCI World Championships coming up and I will take a lot of confidence away with me from this race.”
“I am not disappointed at all with this result. Of course, I would have been happier if Greg Van Avermaet had finished on the podium but that is racing. Greg made a decision to try to attack today and go away with Peter Sagan (Bora - hangrohe) but it was not the best moment, and then we saw Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) attack. Greg was here to win. He tried something to do this, and we saw that he is in good shape. We finish this race in fourth, we had the leader’s jersey for three days, and the team was always fighting. I am happy from this perspective, and we need to look forward to the rest of the season and our big goals to come.”
Binck Bank Tour
Stage 7: Essen > Geraardsbergen, 191.3km
Top 3: 1. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) 2. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) 3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 7. Greg Van Avermaet 19. Loïc Vliegen 33. Stefan Küng
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 4. Greg Van Avermaet 21. Loïc Vliegen 22. Stefan Küng
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.