Belgian finishes fifth in Ghent after fading in the finale
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) finished a disappointed fifth place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He was part of the ten-rider break that decide the race but admitted he missed out on a opportunity to win due to a lack of energy and lucidity in the final part of the race.
Van Avermaet’s forcing on the Molenberg helped the chasers bridge the gap to lone escapee Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) but as the ten-strong lead group sped along the run-in to Ghent, he began to pay for his efforts.
“I had good sensations today and that’s why I accelerated on the Molenberg to try and reduce the size of our group,” Van Avermaet said. “But then on the cobbles at Paddestraat and Lippenhovestraat afterwards, I was seeing black in front of my eyes because I was running low on sugar. I took some gels but it didn’t work.”
Just as Van Avermaet was trying to compensate for his untimely fringale, Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) attacked on the Lippenhovestraat and brought eventual winner Luca Paolini (Katusha) with him. Van Avermaet admitted that his positioning was awry when the decisive move drifted clear.
“I wasn’t well placed and I wanted to move up because I sensed the danger,” Van Avermaet said. “I was à bloc. They took only ten metres but it was hard to bring them back. And once they got a lead of half a minute, I already knew that it would be very difficult.”
With Chavanel soft-pedalling to protect Vandenbergh’s interests, the chasers’ firepower was diminished still further, while Van Avermaet was the only representative of BMC’s deep roster to make the decisive move which formed on the Varent with 46km still to race.
“It was a pity that I was the only one on my team in the front group. It would have been better if there had been two of us up there to ride after Vandenbergh and Paolini in the finale,” Van Avermaet said.
While Van Avermaet said he viewed the race as “a missed opportunity,” he conceded that his showing had at least been in keeping with the form that he had shown at the Tour of Qatar earlier this month: “5th place is the confirmation of my form. Sure, I’d have preferred to have been closer but it wasn’t possible.”
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