With stage 4 victory in the yellow jersey, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet sealed Tour de Luxembourg victory to ensure he is on track for the Tour de France. The stage win was the second of the week for the BMC rider who finished no lower than fifth in any of the five days of racing.
The win was Van Avermaet's first stage win since the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico and continues his 2017 winning streak that included four of the sprint classics, culminating with Paris-Roubaix victory.
"When I came into this race, I was just thinking about improving my form and being a little bit better every day so, I was surprised when I was second in the prologue. From there, the expectation to do well came from me. Every day was a parcours suited to me, so it became easier and easier to take a victory and I am really happy to win," said Van Avermaet.
"I think today was a better climb for me. Yesterday was a little bit longer, and I didn't time my sprint as well as I did today. It was much better today. It was a stage more suited to puncheurs like me but, I have to say, the team did a really good job to bring me where I wanted to be," he added.
"They worked all day and even at the end of the race, we still had enough guys to put me into a good position. We only had seven riders here, but all six guys were riding really well for me today, and I only had to do the last 150m. So, it was actually pretty easy."
Currently enjoying his most successful season to date with nine wins, Van Avermaet came into the Tour de Luxembourg underdone. A knee injury due to a change in shoes and a brief sickness contracted from his daughter had Van Avermaet downplaying his chances in Luxembourg. But with the overall and points classification, and two stage wins in his pocket, Van Avermaet explained he is confident of claiming a stage win at the Tour de France next month for the third straight year.
"It's always good to start with a win again. This might not be a UCI WorldTour race but every victory counts, and it is always good to get into this mindset. But now, the main goal for me is winning a stage in the Tour de France, and that is the most important thing," said Van Avermaet who will line up at the Tour de Suisse and Belgian nationals before the French Grand Tour.
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