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Greg Van Avermaet (far left) matched his fifth-place finish from a year ago. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
Greg Van Avermaet (far left) matched his fifth-place finish from a year ago. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Van Avermaet Fifth At Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

23. February 2013

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet finished fifth Saturday at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, matching his career-best finish at the race that serves as the opening event of the Belgian race calendar.

'A Missed Chance'
Luca Paolini (Katusha) beat Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in a two-up sprint to win the race that was run in cold, but dry conditions under gray skies. Van Avermaet and eight others did not respond when the pair accelerated on a cobblestone section with 25 kilometers of the 198.9-km race to go. "It was a missed chance," Van Avermaet said. "Once I was in the front group, I felt good and was one of the best riders of the race." Van Avermaet finished third in his small group, 30 seconds after Paolini and Vandenbergh. "I was still thinking we could take the two leaders because there were some strong riders in our group," Van Avermaet said. "But it seems both were too strong. I'm a bit disappointed. These are the races for me and it felt like I could win. "

Entire Squad Finishes
An early breakaway of nine riders enjoyed a more than four-minute lead with 100 km to go. After the last of them was swept up with less than 45 km to go and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) attacked solo, Van Avermaet put in a dig of his own on the penultimate climb to force the final, 10-man selection. Van Avermaet also finished fifth in last year's edition of the race. All eight BMC Racing Team riders were among the 145 finishers (of 198 starters).

Click here to listen to complete comments from Van Avermaet in Dutch and French on the BMC Racing Team AudioLine.