Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has confirmed that he will not participate in the inaugural Tour of Guangxi next week, but has said that he will still travel to China to attend the UCI Gala in Guilin at the end of the race, before lining out in ASO criteriums in Shanghai and Saitama.
News of Van Avermaet's travel plans prompted speculation in the Belgian media that the Olympic champion might extend his season to include the Tour of Guangxi, but he told Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday that the World Championships road race in Bergen had indeed been his final competitive outing of the year.
"I'm not going to race the Tour of Guangxi," Van Avermaet told Het Laatste Nieuws. "However, I am the final winner of the WorldTour and I will be present at the UCI's final gala. That's why I'm going to China."
Victories at Paris-Roubaix, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harlebeke – as well as second place at the Tour of Flanders – saw Van Avermaet build a sizeable lead atop the WorldTour standings in the spring. He will finish ahead of Chris Froome (Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) in the final ranking.
The third annual UCI Gala will take place in Guilin on the final night of the Tour of Guangxi on October 24. In 2015 and 2016, the event took place in Abu Dhabi following the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
The Tour of Guangxi takes place from October 19-24, and has received WorldTour status for its first year of existence. The event marks the WorldTour's return to China after the short-lived Tour of Beijing came to an end in 2014.
ASO last week confirmed that Van Avermaet would be among the participants in the Saitama Criterium on November 4, and the Belgian told Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday that he will also take part in the Le Tour de France China Criterium in Shanghai on October 29.
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