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Greg Van Avermaet said it will be hard to hang onto the King of the Mountains jersey. (©Sandro Zangrando.)
Greg Van Avermaet said it will be hard to hang onto the King of the Mountains jersey. (©Sandro Zangrando.)

Tour of Austria, Stage 1: Van Avermaet Earns KOM Jersey

3. juli 2011

Götzis, Austria

Greg Van Avermaet donned the King of the Mountains jersey Sunday at the Tour of Austria after winning two of three intermediate climbs in the 139.7-kilometer race. The BMC Racing Team rider also stands fourth overall after the opening stage.

Dangerous Breakaway

Van Avermaet followed an early attack, which led to him spending much of the race in a four-man breakaway that gained a nearly five minute lead. "On the first climb I felt good, and two guys went, so I went with them," he said. "When I'm in the breakaway, I'm a good sprinter. For me, it's better to have a jersey than nothing because it was not easy to stay in front." The four were caught inside the final 20 km as Robbie Hunter (Team Radioshack) won in a field sprint. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Michael Sayers said Van Avermaet's presence in the break forced several teams to chase. "You never know on the first stage," Sayers said. "You let four guys go up the road, they get 12 minutes and you never see them again."