The Olympic champion lives in east Flanders but has a second home in Stoumont, south of Liège. This week, fellow CCC Belgians Serge Pauwels, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Nathan Van Hooydonck, and Gijs Van Hoecke all arrived, along with Swiss Classics domestique Michael Schär.
"It had been a long time since we had ever seen each other," said Van Avermaet, according to Sporza (opens in new tab).
"I thought it would be nice to invite the other Belgians of the team and Michael to train hard for a few days here. A small initiative, but good for the group spirit. In total there were six of us, everyone stayed here my house. It was fun."
The sextet did three days of training, with Monday's ride covering 146km and 2,876m of elevation gain, and Tuesday's covering 166km with 3,180m of elevation. On Wednesday, they swapped their race bikes for mountain bikes and set out on a 95km route that packed in 2,489m of elevation.
"A tough ride with lots of altimeters. I do that often, but the other boys could feel it," Van Avermaet said. "It's fun and a nice change in training. It doesn't feel like training.
While the Belgian contingent left on Wednesday evening, Schär has stayed on and the pair will leave on Sunday. They had a break from riding to go kayaking on Thursday, followed by another road ride - 163km, 2,336m - on Friday.
"It was small-scale, without a chef, soigneur or mechanic of the team," said Van Avermaet.
"We made our plan, provided breakfast , cooked a little pasta for lunch and in the evening we ate at the restaurant. It was nice to see everyone again and train together, to get ready for what will follow, because it will be a busy calendar."
Van Avermaet's training will intensify next month when he embarks on a proper training camp at altitude in Livigno from July 14-30. He will then make the short journey to Tuscany to make his return to racing at Strade Bianche on August 1.
Van Avermaet will ride the Tour de France from August 29-September 20 before taking on the Classics in October.
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