Van Avermaet stage hunting at Tour of Oman

BMC eschew general classification for stage wins

Greg Van Avermaet will continue his return from an off-season injury as he leads BMC Racing at this month’s Tour of Oman. With neither of BMC’s main general classification riders making the trip to the Middle East this spring, the team will be targeting stage victories with Van Avermaet.

Van Avermaet came close to victory in last year’s race but was edged out by an in-form Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) on stage 5. The current Olympic champion had a tricky off-season following a mountain bike crash that resulted in a fractured ankle and surgery. He began his season at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where the team claimed the opening time trial and, after teammate Manuel Senni had a turn, wore the leader’s jersey for two days before handing it over to eventual winner Nairo Quintana.

"The 2017 season has already started win a win and time in the yellow jersey in Valencia, so I'm looking forward to continuing my season at the Tour of Oman. It's a hard race, but my form is good so I'll be on the look-out for stage wins where possible," Van Avermaet said.

Joining Van Avermaet in the team will be Ben Hermans, who finished second to Quintana in Valencia. Stefan Kung, who was also a key part of BMC’s team time trial victory in Spain makes the eight-man squad, as does Michael Schar. Jempy Drucker and Daniel Oss both started their season in the Middle East at the Dubai Tour. Drucker had a solid ride, finishing fourth overall after a consistent week of sprints.

Martin Elmiger, who joined from the now defunct IAM Cycling, and neo-pro Kilian Frankiny will compete for the first time in BMC colours in Oman. The six-day race will begin at Al Sawadi Beach on Tuesday, February 14 and features the traditional summit finish at Green Mountain on stage 5 before coming to a close with a sprint stage to Matrah Corniche on February 19.

"The Tour of Oman is traditionally a tough race, and this year the level of competition is high, so we're expecting a good race,” said directeur sportif Valerio Piva. “We know that Greg is in good form and motivated, and we also have an ambitious team to support him, including riders like Martin Elmiger and Kilian Frankiny who not only race for the first time this season but make their debut with BMC Racing Team.”

BMC for the Tour of Oman: Jempy Drucker, Martin Elmiger, Kilian Frankiny, Ben Hermans, Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet.

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