Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was thrilled to finally take his first win in over a year at Friday’s fifth stage of the Eneco Tour. "It was really frustrating to constantly get second or third place. I always had to settle for podium places but the real victory stayed away. Till today. You can not imagine how good I feel here.”
The Belgian won atop the Muur van Geraardsbergen, in what was called a little “Tour of Flanders”. The peloton had shattered as it hit the closing climb, but Van Avermaet waited and made his move, flying past Pavel Brutt (Katusha) with 500 meters to go.
"I think that the course of this Geraardsbergen stage was designed specifically for me. I came to the Eneco Tour for this stage,” he said, according to the Belgian news agency Belga.
Van Avermaet was determined to win, “it was that or nothing. I continued to sprint to the finish, without looking back. I only saw after the finish that I actually had a good lead but I wanted to take no chances.”
The 29-year-old had come close to the top step of the podium many times this season, but never reached it. His second-place finishes all came in high-powered races: stage two of the Tour de France, as well as the Tour of Flanders and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"I started in this race with the goal of winning a stage and now I've done that,” he said. “Actually I'm the type of rider who likes to close out each season having five major victories, but that is not the case with me (this year).”
His last win was the opening stage of the Tour of Utah in early August 2013. “I hope that the spell is finally broken.”