Tour de France: Van Avermaet targets Champagne finish to stage 3
'It's a good finish for me but it will be all about positioning' says Belgian
CCC Team's Greg Van Avermaet has already scouted out the finish to Monday's stage 3 of the Tour de France in Epernay, in the country's Champagne region, and believes it should suit him, if he and his teammates can get him into a decent position for the stage finale.
"It's a nice area – I love to drink Champagne – and it's a good finish for me," Van Avermaet told reporters after finishing the stage 2 team time trial on Sunday. "But it will be all about positioning.
"But we'll see how things go," he said. "A stage win would be nice, but we're taking things day-by-day. Today [Sunday], we wanted to have a good team time trial performance, and things went well, and everybody performed really well."
Having just finished the stage, Van Avermaet was pleased to see that CCC had finished only 11 seconds down on Team Ineos, who would in turn finish the day in second place to Jumbo-Visma's later winning ride.
"Everybody did a great job – especially my teammates," he said of the team time trial. "I wasn't so great, but everybody did really hard turns, and we worked well together, and I think it was a good performance by the team we have here.
"I wasn't really tired from yesterday," he replied when asked whether the effort of taking the Tour's first polka-dot mountains jersey, by breaking away early on stage 1 to take the points on the race's first climb, had left him fatigued.
"I hoped that I'd start to feel a bit better, and in the end I came good, but in the beginning I wasn't feeling too fast," he admitted.
"I think we were motivated, but you don't know where you're going to end up," added Van Avermaet. "I think everybody did well. I think Ineos will be close to the win, and if you only lose around 10 seconds to them, I think we can already say that it was a good time trial, and I think we can be quite happy with our performance."
Van Avermaet will again wear the white-and-red polka-dot jersey on Monday's third stage between Binche and Epernay, but with one category-4 and three category-3 climbs coming in the final 40km of the stage, the Belgian could well lose his lead in the mountains jersey – which he'd happily trade for a stage victory.
Taking the yellow jersey – which he held for a week early on at last year's Tour – isn't beyond him, either, but he'll have his work cut out thanks to a 41-second deficit to race leader Mike Teunissen, whose Jumbo-Visma team will do all they can to defend it.
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