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Greg Van Avermaet (leading) was part of the group pursuing four riders to the finish late in the race. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Greg Van Avermaet (leading) was part of the group pursuing four riders to the finish late in the race. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Van Avermaet 10th At E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke

28. March 2014

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet finished 10th Friday at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, registering his best result in the race since a third-place finish in 2008.

The Course:
The 212.2-kilometer race featured some of the well-known (and cobbled) climbs of Northern Belgium, including the Eikenberg, the Paterberg and the Oude Kwaremont.

The Day's Breakaway:
Before 40 kms were covered, Jérôme Cousin (Team Europcar), Maxime Daniel (AG2R La Mondiale), Laurens de Vreese (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Florian Senechal (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) and Jay Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka) made their escape. After enjoying a lead of more than six minutes, the five were overtaken by the peloton on the approach to the Kwaremont with 33 km to go.

The Key Move:
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) put in the first attack on the Kwaremont to force a selection of fewer than 10 riders. The next climb, the Karnemelkbeekstraat, sliced the group to four: Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Thomas and Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh. The quartet quickly worked together to build a lead that reached 53 seconds with 14 km to go, was pegged back to 35 seconds with 10 km left, but never got smaller after that.

The Finish:
Sagan easily out-sprinted Terpstra, Thomas and Vandenbergh to take the win. More than a minute behind, the remnants of the chase sprinted in, with Van Avermaet earning his third top 10 finish of the season.

What Van Avermaet Said:
"It went pretty well. I only missed making contact on the Kwaremont with the first riders. I was sitting there with Sagan and Vandenbergh. They actually dropped and I was also sitting on, but on the top Sagan rode to them. I tried to make tempo and, at that moment, Vandenbergh attacked from behind. And then they were gone. We were riding really fast to get them again, especially Stijn Devolder and Dries Devenyns. I tried once on the new climb to close the gap with the leaders and we came closer. But back again on the big roads you lose time again, unfortunately. But I am good and I was always riding in the front. This gives me confidence. I think it could have been better today, but on the other hand, I am happy that I could follow the better riders and also on the Kwaremont."

What Sport Director Max Sciandri Said:
"Greg was up there again. He slightly missed out on Kwaremont. The team placed him well and he was our leader and still had a top 10 finish. So that's pretty good. Some of the other guys on the team were really good. Silvan Dillier did a fantastic job. Manuel Quinziato and Michi (Schär) were really good but Michi was in a crash just before Kwaremont, so he was out."

Listen to complete comments on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

See photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.