BMC Racing line up at Saturday's Volta Limburg Classic aiming for its third straight win in the Dutch one-day race. Defending champion Floris Gerts and recent Tour of Oman winner Ben Hermans will lead the team's ambitions.
Sport director Jackson Stewart is hoping his team can inspire Van Avermaet with an aggressive showing and third straight win 24 hours earlier.
"We have always raced well at Volta Limburg Classic. It's not the Tour of Flanders but it is still a hard race to win. Last year we had five riders in the top ten, including Floris Gerts who won, so I'm expecting the riders to work hard to achieve similar results," said Stewart.
"We are taking a relatively young team, as well as experienced riders like Ben Hermans and Joey Rosskopf, so I'm confident we can do a good race."
From last year's winning team is the returning quartet of Tom Bohli, Manuel Senni, Loïc Vliegen and Hermans, plus Gerts. Added support comes from Kilian Frankiny, Joey Rosskopf and Miles Scotson.
"I have never had number one in a race before so it will be special because I have good memories of last year's race. It won't put any more pressure on me than if I had any other number. I'm looking forward to racing with the guys but I realize that it will be hard to win again because now riders know me better," Gerts said.
The Dutchman has been on hand for Van Avermaet's three cobbled thus far in 2017 and explained he is ready for the challenge of taking on the leadership role.
"My shape is better than last year so I will ride to win again. With Ben Hermans we have a rider who will be the captain and leader so I'm looking forward to race with him again," he said.
2015 winner Stefan Kung, is likely to line out for BMC at the Tour of Flanders in support of Van Avermaet.
BMC Racing for Volta Limburg Classic: Tom Bohli, Kilian Frankiny, Floris Gerts, Ben Hermans, Joey Rosskopf, Miles Scotson, Manuel Senni and Loïc Vliegen.