A Top Ten Finish Sees Van Avermaet Take the Overall Lead in Spain2. February 2017, Denia (ESP) — Road Team
A chaotic finish in Denia saw Greg Van Avermaet secure BMC Racing Team's second day in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana leader's jersey after he finished in eighth place behind stage winner Tony Martin (Team Katusha - Alpecin).
A fast start saw early breakaway attempts quickly reeled back in as the peloton raced towards the first of today's five category three climbs.
It was only after an hour of racing that a three-rider breakaway was able to go clear off the front of the peloton and extend a solid advantage.
BMC Racing Team kept tight control of the main bunch behind whilst the breakaway extended a lead which reached a maximum of 6 minutes 15 seconds.
As the race headed into the final 80km, the breakaway's advantage started to fall but heavy rain created slippery conditions. Stefan Küng was involved in a small crash but luckily escaped uninjured and was able to keep racing.
With the race back together heading into the final 15km, attacks soon followed including the final and ultimately winning move of seven riders with Martin, who eventually rode to solo victory.
Greg Van Avermaet won the reduced bunch sprint for the line and, although finishing 19 seconds back, he stepped onto the podium as the second race leader from BMC Racing Team in as many days.
Interview with Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana race leader, Greg Van Avermaet:
Another day in yellow for BMC Racing Team, Greg! How are you feeling about taking the leader's jersey?
"I came into this stage thinking that there was the chance for me to go for the stage win and in the end it was not possible. I can't complain though as this is only my second race day of the season and already I think my condition is good, especially as I lost some training this winter. I am always proud to wear the leader's jersey at any race and I hope to be able to keep the jersey after tomorrow's stage."
Talk us through the final stages of the race when the seven riders attacked.
"We were working right from the beginning so we didn't have enough guys to close down the final gap and at the end it was too risky to push the limits with the bad weather and the slippery roads. At the end of the stage when I was racing for the remaining top ten places, I wanted to give it my all to finish in the best position I could as the guys had done such a good job earlier on to put me in the best position possible. So once again this yellow jersey is really a team effort."
What part did the rain play in today's race?
"It was definitely not an easy day today with a lot of wind and rain which made the roads dangerous. There were a lot of crashes especially on the last descent so I wanted to keep safe and not take too many risks. It's always good to win but my biggest goals are still to come and I didn't want to end my season here."
And looking ahead to the rest of the race?
"Our main objective was to win the opening team time trial and we have done that so everything else is really a bonus for us. Tomorrow could be another chance for me to go for the stage win so I will try and take any opportunities that I can but this race is preparation for me as I look towards my main goals in April. The team as a whole is really strong here and with the steeper stages, especially on Saturday, I think guys like Ben Hermans and Nicolas Roche could be in good form to do something."
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
"It was a little bit hectic of course with the rain, especially in the final 45km where there was a lot of crashes. We had Stefan Küng go down but thankfully he was okay and finished without any problems. The main objective today was to try and control the race and to bring Greg into the final climb to try and go for the stage. We had a plan and I think all the riders executed that plan so I am happy with how everyone was riding. In the end we had to work so hard at the front of the peloton all day that when Martin attacked no one could go with him. Of course it would have been good to win the stage but it is always a positive to have the leader's jersey. There is a prestige that comes with that and it motivates the team to stay together but we will still continue to look for opportunities to take stage victories as the race continues."
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Stage 2: Alicante > Denia, 180.6km
Top 3: 1. Tony Martin (Team Katusha - Alpecin) 2. Pim Ligthart (Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij) 3. Roglič Primoz (Team Lotton NL-Jumbo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 8. Greg Van Avermaet 17. Manuel Senni 25. Ben Hermans
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.