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Greg Van Avermaet scored his best finish of the young season as Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) took the win. (©Rui Quinta)
Greg Van Avermaet scored his best finish of the young season as Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) took the win. (©Rui Quinta)

Volta ao Algarve, Stage 1: Van Avermaet Runner-Up

15. February 2012

Albufeira, Portugal

On the strength of a formidable lead out by the BMC Racing Team, Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to a runner-up finish Wednesday on the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve.

Tremendous Teamwork

Steve Cummings and Tejay van Garderen set a torrid pace up the final climb in the final kilometers of the 151 km race to position Van Amermaet for the downhill sprint. But the Paris-Tours winner could not overtake stage winner Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol). "Meersman went with 250 or 200 meters to go, which I thought it was a bit too early, but it was downhill," Van Avermaet said. "It was good teamwork to get me up front." BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Rik Verbrugghe agreed. "I'm really happy the team is like this, with Tejay and Steve – two leaders themselves – doing the lead out for Greg," Verbrugghe said. "That means the spirit of the team is really good." Van Garderen, second overall at this race last year, said it helped to know the finish. "This is my fifth time doing this race," he said. "I'm beginning to feel like George Hincapie does when it comes to the Tour de France."