Van Avermaet Sprints to a Top Ten Finish at Bretagne Classic Ouest-France27. August 2017, Plouay (FRA) — Road Team
It was a long day in the saddle for BMC Racing Team at Bretagne Classic Ouest-France today with Silvan Dillier animating the front of the race heading into the closing kilometers before a strong performance from Greg Van Avermaet saw him try his luck in the previously predicted bunch sprint to secure a top ten finish.
The advantage of the day’s 7-rider breakaway was nudging the eight-minute mark after 35km, of the 241.7km course, but with plenty more action still to come, BMC Racing Team sat comfortably in the main bunch as the riders headed into the second hour of racing.
Approaching the halfway point, and with seven of the race’s ten categorized climbs on the horizon, including a second ascent of the Mur de Bretagne, the pace of the peloton picked up with the gap to the leaders starting to fall steadily before eventually, with 90km to go, a motivated chase began.
25km later, the relentless pace behind saw the breakaway pulled to around one minute before the first attack flew off the front of the peloton with Dillier riding as part of a five-rider group that made contact with the front of the race.
For a moment it looked like the peloton would make contact with the now ten-rider strong front group but with the added horsepower, the leaders were able to extend their advantage back out to over 40 seconds, however, despite a strong effort from Dillier and the rest of the breakaway, the peloton was determined to bring the race back together.
With 25km to go, just Dillier and Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) remained out in front, but with the sprinters’ teams setting the tempo behind, they were pulled back to within a handful of seconds as six chasers bridged across. Once again, this helped to extend the gap back out to around 20 seconds as the bell rang to mark the start of the final 13.9km circuit around Plouay.
The attacks soon began and with 5km to go, the Dillier-led group was holding onto its advantage, but on the final climb, the Côte de Ty Marrec, with 4km to go, the peloton was finally able to make the catch before a new series of attacks began.
However, in the end, the bunch was able to close down the late moves and bring the peloton back together heading under the flamme rouge, setting the stage for a fast and furious bunch sprint which was eventually won by Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
After being well-protected at the front of the peloton by his BMC Racing Team teammates all day, Van Avermaet battle for position in the closing meters of the race before launching his sprint to secure tenth on the line.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"Today's race went pretty well for me, and I finished with an okay result in the end. Sprinting is always a bit strange if you don't have space in front but I wanted to go for as good a result as possible. The team did another good job with Silvan Dillier in the breakaway which meant we didn't have to ride behind and then Michael Schär, Danilo Wyss and Nathan Van Hooydonck put me in good position on the last climb."
"Today's race was similar to last weekend in Hamburg, and for us, it is always good to have someone in the breakaway and to put pressure on other teams. I tried again to go in the right move, and this parcours definitely suited me better than last weekend, and we actually came quite close to making it to the line. But again, there were some good guys still in the bunch, and the sprinters were able to get over the climb, so it was a big group that came into the final. For me, the UCI World Championships are a goal of mine, and everything should line up for this race, and so far I am on track I think."
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“I’m really happy with the performance of the whole team. We saw everyone working hard. We knew from previous years that it is hard to stop a bunch sprint at this race, so we wanted to use riders like Silvan Dillier to make the race hard and save Greg Van Avermaet for the bunch sprint. We came into the race looking to secure more UCI WorldTour points for Greg, and with a top ten finish, we succeeded. I think with a finish like we saw today, tenth place was the maximum that Greg could have done. We saw that he is in good shape and so we can go to Canada feeling confident and motivated to produce good results.”
Bretagne Classic Ouest-France
One-day race: Plouay > Plouay, 241.7km
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) 2. Alexander Kristof (Team Katusha - Alpecin) 3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 10. Greg Van Avermaet 22. Danilo Wyss 52. Silvan Dillier