Van Avermaet back on the bike - News shorts

Sergio Henao close again in Pais Vasco, David Per wins U23 Tour of Flanders, Australian women's marathon title for Mullens

Greg Van Avermaet back on the bike

One week ago Greg Van Avermaet was one of five BMC riders to crash at the Tour of Flanders with the Belgian suffering a broken collarbone, ruling him out Paris-Roubaix. A podium finisher at both monuments, Van Avermaet underwent surgery late Sunday-night explaining afterwards "I'm not feeling too bad after the surgery and now I'll take things day by day."

The 30-year-old was quickly back on his bike and riding outside as his regular training partners cataloged, adding Van Avermaet joined them for a two hour ride yesterday.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of Paris-Roubaix, along with a full race wrap and reaction from the 114th edition of the race.

Sergio Hernao conceeds Pais Vasco lead in final day time trial for second year running

Team Sky's Sergio Henao experienced a familiar sensation in the Vuelta a Pais VascoEibar time trial as the Colombian started the stage in the race leader's yellow jersey only drop off the top spot and into second place for the second year running. While in 2015 there was no consolation for Henao, the 28-year-old did enough to secure himself the points classification with Sky winning the team classification.

"I'm happy with my performance this week. OK, I didn't win the overall, but I gave 100% right from the start," said Henao in a team release. "I tried to go with a different tactic today - I held back slightly on the climb and then really pushed it over the second half of the course. Contador was super strong though and he deserved his win."

Henao started his season with third place overall and the KOM classification at the Tour Down Under before heading to Paris-Nice to help Geraint Thomas to the overall win while he finished in sixth place. He has also finished second at both one-day races he's started this year, the Colombian nationals and GP Miguel Indurian and explained that while missing the result, it has been a good start to the season nonetheless.

"We can be pleased with our performance as a team as well this week. We were strong and every rider played his part. The fact that we won the team classification shows this, and of course we also got a stage win, and topped the points classification," he added.

Henao will next be action at the Ardennes classics where he has been a protagonist before, particularly at Fleche Wallonne where he placed second in 2013.

"They are among my main goals for this season and I feel far stronger right now than I did at this point last year," he said. "Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege both suit me and Liege in particular is a race I particularly love."

 

Sergio Henao won the points classitication (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

David Per wins U23 Tour of Flanders 

Slovenian David Per proved to be the fastest finisher at the conclusion of the U23 Tour of Flanders, beating points world champion Jonathan Dibben and France's Corentin Ermenault.

First held in 1936, the U23 Tour of Flanders has been won by the likes of Alexander Edmondson (Orica-GreenEdge), Rick Zabel (BMC), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) and Gatis Smukulis (Astana). The 2016 edition of the race though did not feature any of the iconic cobbled climbs from the Tour of Flanders with the race organisers opting for paved climbs to the disappointment of Per.

"The dream becomes reality. It is such a legendary and grueling test. Despite the lack of paved climbs, we really rode à bloc. I am very happy, proud to have won this event," Per told DirectVelo after his win. "We worked well together as a team, and at the end, I had enough energy to win. Although I am not a pure sprinter, I felt good and I was confident."

Coming into the race in form after a time trial win and second overall at the Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux, Dibben explained he was disappointed to have missed out on the victory.

"I wanted to impose myself, to reward the team and its work. I did not race to finish second," Dibben told DirectVelo. "I staked everything on a bunch sprint, but the break seemed solid. So I decided, three kilometers from the finish, to make the jump to the race leader with some other riders. We came back together a few hundred meters from the line, but I didn't have the legs to sprint for victory.

Dibben and Per will next meet at the ZLM-Roompot Tour in the Netherlands next week with the WIGGINS rider set to then line up at the Tour of Yorkshire and Tour of California.

Peta Mullens wins Australian national cross country marathon title

Former Australian road race champion Peta Mullens has added a second national cross country marathon title to her palmares having previously won the title in 2012. The 28-year-old won the 2015 national road race title for Wiggle Honda but then turned her back on the road to pursue her goal of representing Australia at the Rio Olympic Games but then re-signed with Wiggle Honda for 2016.

"I was originally going to race and after Oceanias I had a rough run and thought I probably need to have a big break into Cairns [MTB Word Cup round]. But was feeling good in training and couple of ergo sessions and really had the itch to race," Mullens said post-race.

Mullens finished ninth in her title defence before heading to Adelaide for the Santos Women's Tour and completed the Australian summer of cycling with tenth at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and 13th at the Oceania Championships in Ballarat. Mullens then decided to refocus on making the Rio Games and recently finished second in the Australian national cross country title.

Having made a last minute decision to fly to the championships in Tasmania, Mullens won the 70km race in just over four hours with Jenni King in second place, a further 12 minutes in arrears.

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