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Five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx (right) congratulated Greg Van Avermaet on the final podium.
Five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx (right) congratulated Greg Van Avermaet on the final podium.

BMC Racing Team's Van Avermaet Wins Tour de Wallonie

27. July 2011

Thuin, Belgium

After receiving valuable help from his teammates, Greg Van Avermaet finished the job himself Wednesday at the Tour de Wallonie by sprinting to victory in the final stage and earning the BMC Racing Team its second yellow jersey in less than a week.

Total Team Effort

Van Avermaet entered the final 154-kilometer stage tied on time with Joost Van Leijen (Vacansoleil). Mathias Frank, Martin Kohler and John Murphy spent the majority of the race on the front to chase down a breakaway. After the break was caught, Taylor Phinney and Alexander Kristoff kept the race together in the final 10 kilometers and Alessandro Ballan led Van Avermaet onto the cobbled climb to the finish of the Mur de Thuin. Van Avermaet outsprinted Van Leijen to take the win and the overall title by four seconds. "The finish suited me well and it was great work by my teammates," Van Avermaet said. "Every day they were there to help me. This is definitely a highlight of my career."

On Good Form
Van Avermaet's victory marks the fourth stage race won by the BMC Racing Team in 2011, adding to three by Cadel Evans (Tour de France, Tour de Romandie and Tirreno-Adriatico). It is the first stage race victory of Van Avermaet's career and follows a runner-up finish overall at the Tour of Belgium in May. He also won a stage of the Tour of Austria earlier this month on the way to taking the sprint classification. "I've known Greg for a long time and he's always been a winner," BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Rik Verbrugghe said. "So to see him do well in Belgium, Austria and now here is great. He is on good form and we'll see if he can hold it through to San Sebastian on Saturday."