Greg Van Avermaet believes that despite having several offers from other teams, it would have been a mistake to leave the BMC team. The Belgian re-signed with the American-registered WorldTour team at the tail end of April and returned to racing last month at the Tour of California after an injury lay off.
“Staying was pretty important because I’ve been on the team for a few years and I’ve become a leader here. There were some other teams interested in me but it was important for me that I stayed,” Van Avermaet told Cyclingnews at the Criterium du Dauphine.
“I just want to do what I’m good at, and that’s going for the Classics and stage wins in big races. I want to carry on with that and get stronger and stronger.”
Van Avermaet’s progress at BMC has flourished in the last two years but it took time for the 31-year-old to really find his feet. In recent years the BMC riders have been given clearer goals and objectives, which have in turn helped the likes of Van Avermaet, who was previously forced to share leadership in key races. This season he won Het Volk, a stage and the overall classification at Tirreno Adriatico, and finished fifth in Milan San Remo. A nasty crash in the Tour of Flanders ended his spring campaign.
“It was a hard time for me when I was becoming a leader but it would have been a bit stupid for me to leave because I spent several years aiming to be a leader on the team. It would have been a bit stupid to leave after I finally got where I wanted to be. There were a few teams interested in me because I have a lot of WorldTour points and I get results. I’m a good rider for everything.”
Van Avermaet’s teammate Philippe Gilbert recently announced that he would be leaving the BMC team at the end of the season.
"I don’t really have an opinion on that,” Van Avermaet said, when asked about his often rival within the BMC team.
“It’s his career and he’s had a good career with a lot of wins. He has to do what he has to do.”
“For me the Flemish Classics are the most important races and I’m the only leader in the team for those kind of races and the hard stages in races. They’re my main goals.”
Van Avermaet is hunting stage wins at the Dauphine as well as supporting team leader Richie Porte. The Australian finished second in the prologue on Sunday. Six seconds slower than Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).