News Shorts: Van Avermaet wants team leadership for Spring Classics

Brain surgery for Australian track coach, Eisel eyes eventual retirement

Van Avermaet wants to win a Classic in 2015

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) came very close to winning a Classic in 2014, finishing second in the Tour of Flanders and is determined to stand on the top step of the podium next year, even if it means clashing with teammate and fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert, who also wants to target the cobbled Classics.

"I am now 29, my strongest years are coming. I want to keep up my attacking style, then the big Classic will come," Van Avermaet told Sporza.be  

"Last year we had decided that Philippe would be leader in the Ardennes races and I in the Flemish races. Now Philippe will again ride the Flemish races and the Tour of Flanders will certainly be one of them." This is, he admitted, "not nice to hear."

Although the two have clashed in the past, Van Avermaet warned that things have change.

"I have become stronger and Philippe has a very good track record. He is not as impressive now. I'm still ambitious and want to take my own chance in the Flemish races."

Emergency brain surgery for Australian track coach

Australian national track coach Tim Decker is recovering from emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot. Decker, who was recently Cycling Australia's international coach of the year, was to have accompanied the national team to the London World Cup meet this weekend.

Decker, 41, crashed heavily in late September whilst training on the road with the men's track endurance team and being knocked unconscious. He spent a week in hospital at the time, but continued headaches lead him to go back to the doctor last week.

"Doctors told him that had he boarded the flight with the riders to London on the weekend, the bleed could have become far more serious and even fatal," according to Adelaidenow.com.au. The surgery was performed on Monday.

Eisel: one or three more years in the saddle

Bernhard Eisel can see the end of his career approaching but is undecided when he finally hang up his wheels.

"Maybe I will stop the end of 2015, but maybe the end of 2018. I will not sit in the saddle until I am 40," the Austrian told Radsport-News.com.

The 33-year-old still has one more season to go on his current contract with Team Sky. He has become accustomed to his new role, of being road captain and key domestique with the Britsih team.

"I did what was expected of me. It was clear from the beginning that I would not really have many chance to take my own chances," he said.

Eisel has three highlights for the coming season, the Spring Classics, the Tour de France and the World Championships. "Especially in the Classics, I want to be in the mix for another two or three years," he said.

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