The Olympic road race champion has won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem so far this spring, earning him the nickname of the ‘King of Flanders’. He hopes to extend his reign with his first ever monument victory on Sunday, and BMC have selected Silvan Dillier, Jempy Drucker, Martin Elmiger, Stefan Kung, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato and Francisco Ventoso to help him.
"My win on Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem was incredible, and as I said then, I don’t think I can pretend that I’m not the favorite anymore for the Tour of Flanders. I’ve had the best start to the season possible, and what gives me even more confidence is knowing that my favourite race, the race that suits me the most, is still to come," Van Avermaet said.
As a Flandrian, Van Avermaet is fully aware of the significance of the Tour of Flanders.
"Lining up on Sunday will be a really special feeling. I know I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in the spring, and this year the race passes my house," he revealed.
"I say it every year; I know the roads so well, I train every day on the parcours, and this year I feel like it’s my turn. I’m going to race aggressively and I have seven riders completely dedicated to helping me win. There’s nothing more I can do to prepare. I’m ready."
Van Avermaet can count on the experience of directors Fabio Baldato and Valerio Piva in the BMC team car.
Baldato said Van Avermaet’s string of victories puts him in the best-possible position.
"Greg has proved time and time again this year that he is strong, he is a champion," said Baldato, who finished second in the 1995 Tour of Flanders.
"We know that every team will be looking at us on Sunday, but when you have a leader as strong as Greg that doesn’t matter. Greg knows how to race, when to make a move, and as we have seen at Record Bank E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, he can sprint against anyone at the end of a long, hard race.
“We will do everything possible to put Greg in a good position in the finale and let him do what he does best," Baldato said. "I think the whole team is excited to race this Sunday. It’s the most important race for us this spring.”
BMC Racing for the Tour of Flanders: Greg Van Avermaet. Silvan Dillier, Jempy Drucker, Martin Elmiger, Stefan Kung, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Francisco Ventoso