Aggressive Display from Van Avermaet at Amstel Gold Race16. April 2017, Berg en Terblijt (NED) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet put in an aggressive ride at Amstel Gold Race in a tough edition of the opening Ardennes Classics race, eventually finishing in the bunch sprint for minor places behind winner Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors).
The peloton let a 12-rider breakaway form early in the 261km race with the group’s advantage reaching more than eight minutes.
With 100km to go, as the race approached the second passage of the finish line, the breakaway’s advantage had fallen to four minutes, and 20km later, BMC Racing Team took control of the peloton and brought the group within reach.
With Van Avermaet’s teammates leading the peloton and setting a high pace, many riders were put in difficulty at the back of the bunch.
40km from the finish line the race came back together and immediately attacks started on the Kruisberg.
Eight riders went clear and back in the bunch Van Avermaet started chasing to join the group. 10km later, a small group, including Van Avermaet, was close to catching the front riders but just missed the junction.
Despite a show of strength and determination, Van Avermaet was forced to work with little help from the chase group and up ahead attacks started from the front group.
Van Avermaet’s group wasn’t able to close the 30-second gap, while in front, Gilbert attacked with runner-up Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and the duo sprinted for the win.
The remaining breakaway riders took the majority of the ten top places and Van Avermaet sprinted to 12th place from the bunch.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“We thought to take control of the race with 70km to go. I think it was good to make the race difficult there. The team rode well but we weren’t placed well before the Kruisberg and then it is always necessary that I have someone with me. I wasn’t in the right position and it is there where the strongest go”
“I was trying to close the gap but Kwiatkowski was stronger and he closed the gap. I was staying with Valverde but we couldn’t close to the front group. This was the key moment of the race. We needed to close the gap immediately to the group of strong guys ahead but this didn’t happen, so the gap stayed the same. Everyone was on the limit and nobody was strong enough to close the gap in my group. I knew then that my chance of victory was gone.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“Greg was good but he was not in the position when the attack came on the Kruisberg. Then he was in a good position to try and move to the front group but he was ten meters too short on the Keutenberg where Kwiatkovski (Team Sky) had the ability to come back. Greg was with Valverde and Kwiatkowski jumped behind them. Kwiatkowski came back to the group and Greg and Valverde didn’t.”
“Greg was riding a good race but he wasn’t in the right position and that’s because of the race situation. It was a similar situation to Milan-San Remo when the team was riding to make the race hard, but then Greg was a little bit too alone in the most important moment. It was our mistake in this part of the race.”
Amstel Gold Race
Maatricht > Berg en Terblijt (261km)
Top 3: 1. Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors), 2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), 3. Michael Albasini (ORICA-SCOTT)