Van Avermaet ready to defend Paris-Roubaix title

Greg Van Avermaet is eager to defend his 2017 victory at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, even though as he admits, "things haven't fallen into place yet" this season. 

Van Avermaet's win last year was his first Monument victory, as well as the first for the team. 

"It is a really special feeling to be lining up as the defending champion at Paris-Roubaix. I've felt good and confident in my shape the whole Classics season but things haven't fallen into place yet," he said when BMC named its final line-up for Sunday.

"Paris-Roubaix is completely different to the Belgian classics. As much as you need the legs, you need some luck, to stay safe and avoid punctures. Last year I had some bad luck but I managed to completely change my situation."

This year Van Avermaet has one individual win, stage 3 of the Tour of Oman, where he wore the leader's jersey for two stages. More recently he has finished third in E3 Harelbeke, eighth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and fifth at the Tour of Flanders.

"I was really happy with the team at the Tour of Flanders and we will give it everything we have on Sunday to defend my title. It was amazing last year because I wasn't expecting to win but I did it. I'm capable of winning again so we will see how far I come."

BMC directeur Fabio Baldato is confident the US WorldTour team can produce a good result with Van Avermaet as team leader.

"We have seen that Greg Van Avermaet is strong in the Classics this year and although we haven't managed to get a win, we are confident ahead of Paris-Roubaix. At the Tour of Flanders, we saw the best performance from a team perspective and all of our riders are motivated to help Greg as much as possible on Sunday," he said.

"Paris-Roubaix is the most unpredictable race of the classics and as we have seen in previous years, anything can happen at any moment of the race. We need to be attentive and intelligent in the way we race and by doing this, I am confident that we can produce a good result with Greg as our leader."

BMC for Paris-Roubaix: Greg van Avermaet, Jempy Drucker, Stefan Küng, Jürgen Roelandts, Michael Schär, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Francisco Ventoso.

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