Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Greg Van Avermaet will lead BMC Racing’s efforts Saturday at Strade Bianche, taking a nice swing of confidence into the Italian race that's famous for its white gravel roads.
"I can definitely take confidence out of my win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend," Van Avermaet said. "At both of the one-day races in Belgium we showed that we had a really strong team with a few riders making the split each day."
After winning Omloop, Van Avermaet finished seventh in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne the following day after eventual victor Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) slipped away with four other riders to form the winning move. Van Avermaet was second in the field sprint won by Arnaud Demare (FDJ).
BMC will send a strong roster to back up Van Avermaet, who was sixth last year in a strung-out seven-man group that came in behind the four leaders, including winner Fabian Cancellara. In the 2015 race, Van Avermaet was second to Quick-Step’s Zdenek Stybar after the pair got away near the finish.
"We have seen that Greg Van Avermaet is strong and he has a good team around him on Saturday," said BMC director Max Sciandri. "It is by no means an easy race, but if we can position Greg well in the final then I'm confident he can get a good result. It's also a chance for some of our other riders, like Daniel Oss and Stefan Küng, to show what they can do."
For Van Avermaet, the race is another stepping stone toward the Monuments to come and a chance to further improve his form.
"I hope to get stronger over the next couple of weeks, so it will be good to get some more hard racing in the legs at Strade Bianche before Tirreno-Adriatico starts next week," he said. "I've been on the podium before, and I'd like to be up there again."
BMC Racing roster for Strade Bianche: Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, Jempy Drucker, Ben Hermans, Stefan Kung, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Greg Van Avermaet