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Greg Van Avermaet (far left) finished third for the BMC Racing Team Sunday. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
Greg Van Avermaet (far left) finished third for the BMC Racing Team Sunday. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Greg Van Avermaet Third at Gent-Wevelgem

24. March 2013

Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to a third-place finish Sunday for the BMC Racing Team at Gent-Wevelgem, matching his career-best finish in a spring cobblestone classic.

Result Boosts Confidence
Van Avermaet was part of a group of about a dozen riders who broke away 60 kilometers from the finish of the snow-shortened 183.4-km race that Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) won solo with an attack inside the final four kilometers. Van Avermaet, who also earned a podium finish in a cobblestoned race in 2008 when he was third at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, was out-sprinted by runner-up Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team) 23 seconds after Sagan crossed the line. "When Sagan went, I tried to follow him but it wasn't possible," Van Avermaet said. "I think Sagan is a bit stronger than the rest of us for the moment. But I don't think I did a bad sprint, it gives me confidence. My condition was already good in Milan-San Remo and E3. After today, it is nice for me and the team to see I'm good. I needed (this result) today for my head."

Team Strength On Display
On a cold, windy day, the BMC Racing Team put seven of its eight riders in a front group of about 50 in one of the first decisive splits. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said the show of strength was a welcome change from E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke on Friday when only Daniel Oss made the front group, on the way to finishing third. "It was very satisfying to see so many of our guys in the front working together so well," he said. "The plan was to protect Thor Hushovd because we were thinking we could arrive with 30 or 40 riders for a massive sprint and we also wanted to try to make the race aggressive." Hushovd, who was next-best for the BMC Racing Team in 17th place, said he was feeling good but missing "a little bit" on the hardest moments. "I hope things will change a little bit for this upcoming weekend (Tour of Flanders) and at least for Roubaix," he said.

Click here to listen to complete comments from Baldato, Hushovd and Van Avermaet (in Dutch) on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.