Van Avermaet shows 'loyalty' to BMC in their hunt for a sponsor

Olympic champion can wait until after Tour de France to decide on 2019

Greg Van Avermaet has come forward and given BMC Racing a major boost by pledging his loyalty to the team despite uncertainty over the team's future.

There are currently no concrete plans for the team to carry on in 2019 with none of the current riders on contracts beyond this year. Although there have been noises from within the BMC camp of the team having enough funds to survive on a lower budget next year they are still seeking the investment of a title sponsor.

Van Avermaet has been with BMC Racing since 2011 and has enjoyed almost all of his high profile success with the team, including last year's win in Paris-Roubaix. The team's other marquee rider, Richie Porte, confirmed to Cyclingnews in February that he would give BMC Racing's management until May to find a sponsor but Van Avermaet has told Cyclingnews at Tirreno-Adriatico that he would give them until well after the Tour de France, and called them his 'priority' or first choice.

"It's not a distraction," he said when asked about speculation surrounding the team.

"I'm waiting for Jim Ochowicz and I'm waiting for BMC. I've been here on this team for eight years and I'm confident that it will go through. I'm listening to other options but in the end, BMC is my priority.

"Other teams have come forward but that's normal. I'm one of the leaders for the Classics, so they're asking questions, but like I said, BMC is my main priority. Only if they don't have a sponsor or the money, then I will look at other teams. The main importance is BMC and the Classics campaign."

"I don't have a date. No. I can give them a long time. Until after the Tour, August. I don't care. I don't want to put pressure on the team and they have time. My loyalty is with BMC. They paid me the last eight years and they're my priority."

Van Avermaet came into Tirreno-Adriatico on the back of a difficult week. He was off the pace in Strade Bianche and although he looked spritely during the 'opening weekend' in Belgium he was not able to replicate his form of 2017 when he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in impressive style.

On stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico, he put some of the doubt over his form to bed with a creditable 18th spot on the uphill finish to Trevi. The Olympic road champion finished in the same group as Vincenzo Nibali and Davide Formolo. He crossed the line just shy of a group containing Chris Froome, and the Belgian now sits second overall to Geraint Thomas on the same time. The stage was won by Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) with a late attack.

"I tried to test my legs today and I'm pretty happy with how it went, despite not getting a result. I'm second overall on the same time as Thomas but that's my goal," he said.

"The climb was just a little bit too hard but the feelings were good, that's the most important thing. I knew it would be hard to win with the gap Roglic had but I wanted to give it a go. After 240km it's a pretty good effort. I feel pretty fresh at the finish, so it's all good training and good feelings.

"I wasn't worried about what happened at Strade Bianche, it was just a bad day. The weather conditions were terrible and I know that's part of racing. But I know my shape is there and I'm happy with how things are going here at Tirreno. I feel I'm where I need to be."

Courtesy of our partners Prendas Ciclismo, we are giving away a free jersey from their retro collection. To win, all you need to do is click HERE and vote for your favourite jersey. Entries close next week.

Related Articles

Back to top