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Feb 27, 2016 – Greg Van Avermaet has kicked off the Belgian Classics with winning form, clinching victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad today in a nail-biting sprint to the line.
BMC PR/Tim de Waele
It is Van Avermaet’s first win of the season, and he couldn’t be happier to do it on home soil he said.
“It was really important for me to win the first Classics race of the season. I’m happy that I could finally win a Classic like this because I was close a few times here and I know how hard it is to win a Classic in the springtime. You never know how many victories you’re going to have so I’m of course going to enjoy this one and hopefully I’ll have more to come. Beating Sagan in a sprint like this only gives me more confidence.”
“My main goal is still the Tour of Flanders and to already have this win in my pocket is the best way to start the season.”
A 12 rider breakaway attacked early in the 200km opening race of the Spring Classics, gaining 5’30 on the peloton as they reached the second half of the race. With 57km to go Luke Rowe (Team SKY) attacked with Van Avermaet immediately in pursuit. The pair eventually formed a small group of four riders who would go on to catch the breakaway and battle it out for the win. Van Avermaet edged out Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) in the sprint to the line.
“I’ve always believed in my ability to outsprint the fast guys especially after a long, hard race. When I was second and third I was always saying to myself that I could beat them when things go perfectly. And today’s victory confirmed this I think. You have to keep believing in yourself and one day it will come true.”
It was a day of elation with Van Avermaet’s win but also disappointment for Philippe Gilbert, Floris Gerts and Jempy Drucker who were involved in a nasty crash at the 50km to go mark. The trio were forced to abandon and Drucker and Gerts were taken to hospital to have X-Rays.
BMC Racing Team Doctor Dario Spinelli said “At this stage we have no further news of their condition. As soon as we know the results of their X-Rays we will be able to provide an update and assess the next steps.”
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 4:54:12
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team
3. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
5. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:05
6. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:09
7. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
10. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
11. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
12. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
13. Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling
14. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
15. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
16. Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18
17. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
18. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team
19. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
20. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal