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Greg Van Avermaet won Paris-Tours after figuring in a late breakaway. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Greg Van Avermaet won Paris-Tours after figuring in a late breakaway. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Greg Van Avermaet Wins Paris-Tours

9. October 2011

Tours, France

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet earned his first classics victory by winning Paris-Tours Sunday in a two-up sprint against Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil).

Stronger In The Sprint

Van Avermaet first made a decisive split of nearly two dozen riders with 50 kilometers left in the 230.5 km race. When Marcato attacked on the Côte de Beau Soleil with about 10 kilometers to go, only Van Avermaet could follow. The two quickly overtook solo leader Arnaud Gerard (FDJ) and built a 20-second lead over a disorganized group of chasers. Onto the finishing straight of the Avenue de Grammont, Van Avermaet was able to follow Marcato's wheel until going to his sprint with 200 meters to go. "I'm really good at sprinting after a long hard race and so is he ... but in the end I was stronger," Van Avermaet said. "I was happy he was working very well in the end. We decided to go full out to the finish and then see who was the fastest in the sprint."

Fourth Win Of 2011
Van Avermaet's victory was his fourth of the season. He took the final stage of the Tour de Wallonie on the way to winning the overall and won Stage 6 of the Tour of Austria en route to the points classification there. His previous best finish at Paris-Tours came in 2009 when he finished 14th while helping then (and future) teammate Philippe Gilbert take the win. Assisting Van Avermaet on the BMC Racing Team Sunday was Taylor Phinney (23rd), Michael Schär (48th), Alessandro Ballan (57th), Marcus Burghardt (58th), Mauro Santambrogio (59th) and Martin Kohler (73rd). "The team did a really good job and we tried to make the whole race really hard and control the race the whole day," Van Avermaet said.

Plan To Split The Pack
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said he hatched a plan to spilt the race in the crosswinds just after the feed zone (115 km to go). "When I passed the feed zone and saw the soigneur with all seven musettes still in his hands, I said to our mechanic that it was a good sign that we were all going for it," Lelangue said. "We had our entire team in the first group of 50 and from then on we were going in all the counters and all the groups and Greg was in a good one. It was a good way to finish the classics season."