Van Avermaet Moves into a Podium Position after Binck Bank Tour Stage 612. August 2017, Houffalize (BEL) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet jumped up the General Classification at Binck Bank Tour today after another explosive finale saw him sprint to fourth on the line and move into third overall with one stage remaining.
At 203.7km long, stage 6 was the longest of the week, and once again, there was a battle to make the breakaway with a fast pace being set from KM 0 as riders tried to distance themselves from the peloton.
After 35km of racing, seven riders, including Nathan Van Hooydonck, looked like they would be able to go clear after putting daylight between themselves and the rest of the field but the pace behind never wavered and they were quickly pulled back before new attacks began.
One hour into the day and with more than 50km covered, a six-rider breakaway was eventually given the freedom to build up an advantage which reached more than five minutes as they went over the top of the Côte de la Baraque Michel Est with 110km of racing, and a lot more climbing, still to come.
With another battle of the General Classification contenders expected, the pace of the main bunch began to pick up heading into the final 80km of the stage. The breakaway was steadily being pulled back and by the time the race reached the bottom of the Côte de Saint-Roch, the peloton was trailing by just over 30 seconds.
With an average gradient of 11%, the climb immediately took its toll with some of the early breakaway riders being swept up as the peloton exploded behind them drawing out a select group of riders, including Van Avermaet, at the front of the race with less than 30km remaining.
The attacks soon followed and 10km later, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) were leading the way with Van Avermaet working hard as part of the chase group that was hovering around twenty seconds behind.
In the end, the advantage of the leading duo proved enough to see them go head to head for the stage win with Wellens taking the day’s honors ahead of Dumoulin, who moved into the leader’s green jersey.
Meanwhile, Van Avermaet was locked in a battle for the remaining places behind and, after another strong effort in a thrilling finale, he sprinted to fourth on the line and moved into third on the General Classification, 46 seconds back.
Unfortunately, Miles Scotson was forced to withdraw from racing during the stage having fallen ill with gastrointestinal problems. BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Dario Spinelli provided an update below.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"It was a really hard stage, especially with the weather. I think it could be described as the queen stage and I am pretty happy with how I did. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was stronger today and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) went at the right moment to bridge across. I was just behind but struggling a little bit. I did what I could and what I had to do and finished fourth in the end, and it is good that I am third on the GC. That is within my expectations, so I am really happy with my form and what I did today."
"We were trying to work together to pull Wellens back, but then Dumoulin surprised us. I tried to hold on but I cracked with a few meters to go. That's how it is sometimes though. Someone is stronger than you, so I let it go. The cooperation was good behind. It was a strong group of guys, and we worked well together. At one point we came really close to catching them but then they speeded up, and the race was over for the win."
"Tomorrow is also hard, and for the moment I am pretty tired, so I don't want to think too much about it, but it is a good stage for me. I have won there already. It is an uphill finish but it always suits me, and it is in Flanders, so it is a better parcours for me. Hopefully, I can do something but to keep my position overall would be great. I hope the group stays together until the last climb and I think I have the legs to finish it off, so we will see how strong I am."
BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Dario Spinelli on Miles Scotson:
“Miles Scotson was experiencing some gastrointestinal problems for a couple of days and then, after his crash two days ago, he had some pain in his knee. He started the race today however it became clear that it was in his best interest to stop racing. If everything goes okay, all that will be required is a few days of rest, and then Miles should be able to resume training and racing at his usual level.”
Binck Bank Tour
Stage 6: Riemst > Houffalize,203.7km
Top 3: 1. Tim Wellens (Lotto - Soudal) 2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek - Segafredo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Greg Van Avermaet 28. Loïc Vliegen 40. Stefan Küng
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.