Greg Van Avermaet has confirmed his race programme for 2019, his first season in the orange of the newly-rebranded CCC Team. The season will have a familiar feel to it, starting in Valencia before a near-complete programme of the Spring Classics, followed by the Tour de France and World Championships later in the season.
Van Avermaet will pin a dossard on for the first time at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana at the start of February, as he has done for the past two years since the Tour of Qatar ended.
Later that month, he will race the Tour of Oman and then in March the Classics begin, with the 'opening weekend' of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in Belgium followed by Strade Bianche in Italy. He will then line up at Tirreno-Adriatico for a less mountainous route that could see him in contention for a second overall title, before the big Spring Classics period that runs through Milan-San Remo and then onto the cobbles of E3-Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix.
Van Avermaet will then head to the Amstel Gold Race, the only one of the three Ardennes Classics on the programme. Having previously suggested a desire to develop his ability in hillier one-day races, most notably displayed with his Olympics title Rio in 2016, Liège-Bastogne-Liège is not on the agenda at this point in time.
"I've been there a few times, like two years ago, but also it was not planned to it. For the moment it only goes to Amstel then we will see how it goes. I would say there is always a chance I do Liège also but for the moment it’s not on the plan," he said during CCC's training camp in Denia, Spain, on Friday.
Tour and Worlds
Van Avermaet will then take a break before gearing up for the Tour de France. He wore the yellow jersey this year, which, he said, can only have helped the team in their search for new sponsorship. He's aiming to do so again, though he knows that ambition will be complicated by the raft of departures from the team.