Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) came into the season with lofty goals of adding to his collection of one-day wins but the former Paris-Roubaix winner ended his Classics campaign with just two podiums after missing out on a second Monument. However, the Olympic road race champion at least managed to end his spring with the consolation of a victory on the final day of the Tour de Yorkshire.
Van Avermaet may not have been able to defend his 2018 crown in Yorkshire but he rallied with a late attack before outsprinting overall race winner Chris Lawless and his Ineos teammate Eddie Dunbar in Leeds.
“That’s the maximum I could have taken out of the stage, with Ineos really strong,” Van Avermaet confirmed at the finish. “I think that I did the race that I had to do and I’m really happy to win a stage.
"I followed on the climbs and it was really good for me. I had to close down Dunbar otherwise it would have nearly impossible to do something. Lawless was in my wheel and it was hard for me to take the overall, but I’m really happy that I took a stage. It was something important.”
The win in Leeds represented CCC Team’s first triumph since Van Avermaet’s win on stage 3 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February. During the spring classics, the squad were a constant presence with Van Avermaet taking podium spots in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 BinckBank Classic.
However, in Paris-Roubaix and The Tour of Flanders the 33-year-old was unable to challenge for the podium. His spring then extended into the Ardennes with outings in Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Tour de Yorkshire represents his last race before a welcome break, and a chance to recharge his batteries before building back up for the second part of the year, where his focus will lie on the Tour de France and World Championships.
“I was always there in every finals,” Van Avermaet said of his spring campaign.
“Flanders and Roubaix were a disappointment in the results, but I had good legs. Better than the results were showing. I was on the podium twice, which isn’t too bad but of course I was expecting more. It’s cycling though and everyone wants to win. This result still means something.”
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