"This is perhaps the most beautiful and certainly the hardest trophy to win," Van Avermaet told Gazet van Antwerpen. "It has been the work of many years, it's not easy to win this prize. I am 31 years old and am here for the first time. This gives me a lot of satisfaction, just look at this impressive honors list with my name now added."
“I certainly owe this to my gold medal in Rio. That was definitely the best moment in my career.”
The title was one of many he has won this year. Earlier he was awarded the Kristallen Viets for the third time, as Belgium’s best cyclist.
Van Avermaet is still recovering from a broken ankle suffered this autumn whilst mountain biking. "I still have some problems with my injury, this crash is certainly not forgotten. I have been back on the bike training for several weeks and am building up for next season."
“On December 26 I will travel alone to Spain for individual training, because I still have to catch up. The leg strength is definitely not back yet.” His first big goal in 2017 will be Milan-San Remo. Following a break, he will then tackle the Tour of Flanders, which he crashed out of this year.
"After an injury you always have it difficult in the beginning, but I will never give up. I always return, that's the common thread in my career. As I did last year before crashing, I will now try to take my first Classic.”