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Van Avermaet sportsman of the year in Belgium

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Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet shows off his new colours

Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet shows off his new colours
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Greg Van Avermaet at the 25th Kristallen Fiets 2016

Greg Van Avermaet at the 25th Kristallen Fiets 2016
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg Van Avermaet was still walking with a cane after ankle surgery

Greg Van Avermaet was still walking with a cane after ankle surgery
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) gets the better of Peter Sagan, reversing the GP Quebec result from Friday

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) gets the better of Peter Sagan, reversing the GP Quebec result from Friday
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Greg Van Avermaet has been named Belgian Sportsman of the Year. The BMC rider won not only the gold medal at the Olympic road race in Rio, but also had six other wins during the season.

"This is perhaps the most beautiful and certainly the hardest trophy to win," Van Avermaet told Gazet van Antwerpen. "It has been the work of many years, it's not easy to win this prize. I am 31 years old and am here for the first time. This gives me a lot of satisfaction, just look at this impressive honors list with my name now added."

“I certainly owe this to my gold medal in Rio. That was definitely the best moment in my career.”

The title was one of many he has won this year. Earlier he was awarded the Kristallen Viets for the third time, as Belgium’s best cyclist.

Van Avermaet is still recovering from a broken ankle suffered this autumn whilst mountain biking. "I still have some problems with my injury, this crash is certainly not forgotten. I have been back on the bike training for several weeks and am building up for next season."

“On December 26 I will travel alone to Spain for individual training, because I still have to catch up. The leg strength is definitely not back yet.” His first big goal in 2017 will be Milan-San Remo. Following a break, he will then tackle the Tour of Flanders, which he crashed out of this year.