A change of billing for Greg Van Avermaet. So often a nearly man in the past, the BMC man’s fine start to the 2016 campaign sees him line up in an unfamiliar role at this year’s Spring Classics, as one of the outright favourites for victory on the cobbles.
The upgrade in status since landing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February has not appeared a burden to Van Avermaet thus far. He claimed a canny overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month and on Wednesday came within 200 metres of landing Dwars door Vlaanderen after a powerful solo attack in the finale.
“I’m not the underdog anymore, no,” Van Avermaet told reporters in Roeselare on Thursday afternoon. “I always wanted to be in this position, I knew I could do it and it’s good to be here finally. But I’m still hungry for more. I want a big race like Flanders or Roubaix on my palmarès, and that’s what keeps me motivated.”
Van Avermaet’s new rank was not reflected by the small attendance at his pre-E3 Harelbeke press conference – the Belgian media has had to focus on reporting rather more doleful news to report this week, of course – and on the road, too, he said that he had not felt any more heavily marked than before.
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