Van Avermaet Confident After Tough Dwars door Vlaanderen28. March 2018, Waregem (BEL) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet crossed the line in eighth place at the semi-classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen after going on the attack multiple times during the race.
At 181km, the race was significantly shorter than most Belgian classics but with 12 hills, four cobbled sectors, cold temperatures, and pouring rain on the cards, the stage was set for a tough mid-week battle.
The peloton set a flying pace from kilometer 0 and any attempts to form a breakaway were neutralized to the point that it took over 90km of racing before Luke Rowe (Team Sky) was able to go clear in a solo attempt.
Despite gaining a one-minute advantage, Rowe was pulled back easily when the BMC Racing Team train formed at the front of the bunch.
Jempy Drucker, Stefan Küng, Michael Schär and Francisco Ventoso surrounded Van Avermaet as the pace picked up and many riders found themselves dropped.
In the ten kilometres from 60km to 50km to go, it was attack after attack from the bunch and Van Avermaet and his teammates, including Jürgen Roelandts, were quick to respond to any threatening moves.
There was plenty of movement over the next 20km within the group of 30 riders but any attempts to break away were neutralized until Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) attacked with 33km to go, and Van Avermaet immediately jumped on his wheel.
Van Avermaet and Benoot forged on with good cooperation and we able to gain a maximum advantage of 15 seconds before the chase group pulled them back, and a new attack formed a five-rider front group.
Van Avermaet was caught in the group behind and despite his strong chase efforts, the gap to the leaders continued to grow. Heading into the final 10km, Van Avermaet put everything he had on the line to bring the advantage down with multiple attacks on the final cobbled sector and climb.
Defending champion Yves Lampaert (Quickstep-Floors) launched the winning move with one kilometer to go and was able to hold on to take the victory, while behind Van Avermaet crossed the line in eighth place.
While it was not the result he was looking for, Van Avermaet is confident in his form ahead of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, where he will have the chance to go for his second Monument title.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“Tiesj Benoot and I came back and then you hesitate a bit because you just did a big effort and you look a little bit to the other favourites. We got a bit stuck behind and it was hard to catch up again. We tried to make the race as good as possible.”
“It was a super hard race. I’m pretty happy with how I performed in the conditions after Strade Bianche, which was good to see. I was happy with my race, happy with my legs, just the result was not what I wanted or a good reflection of how my legs were. With these legs that I had, I could have been sprinting for first. Sometimes that’s racing. It’s hard to deal with but I’m confident for De Ronde and in the end, that’s the most important thing.”
“If I can have the big victory on Sunday it would be perfect. It was also nice last year to have already some victories on the palmares. But we will see. I’m happy that I’m always there, I’m confident in my form, and I think we can do something on Sunday.”
Fabio Baldato, Sports Director:
“It was good to see Greg strong. He raced a lot at the front, even more than necessary, but with the rain and the wet roads, it was the safest place to be. Greg was alone in the little group and maybe with another rider from the team, it was possible to change the situation. Greg showed on the last hard climb with Benoot that he was strong. It was not enough to make a result today but for sure, he is in good shape and he is ready for Sunday.”
Dwars door Vlaanderen
Roeselare > Waregem (181km)
Top 3: 1. Yves Lampaert (Quickstep-Floors), 2. Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb), 3. Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 8. Greg Van Avermaet, 19. Jempy Drucker, 25. Michael Schär.