Greg Van Avermaet’s Classics campaign ended in disappointment at Amstel Gold Race, where he showed strength by attacking in the finale, but could only manage 14th place after missing the decisive move in a race won by Michael Valgren (Astana).
The Olympic champion lined out in the Netherlands on Sunday for the final race of his spring, but despite his aggression in the finale, he was unable to put a different complexion on what has been a frustrating spell. Van Avermaet’s Amstel performance was in keeping with the tenor of his Classics campaign as a whole.
"I had the legs to be with the best, but I wasn't in front. It's a bit frustrating. It sums up my spring," Van Avermaet said, according to Belga. "It's not the result I came here for. 14th, I can only be disappointed. I felt good, but I didn't sprint for first place. It's a bit frustrating."
On Sunday, Van Avermaet attacked as the group of favourites reached the finish line for the penultimate time, but he and his fellow escapee Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) were swiftly shut down. To compound his frustration, Van Avermaet then missed a decisive acceleration from Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
"I thought I'd attacked at the right time. I opened a little gap, which I hadn't done this spring," Van Avermaet said. "Rudy Molard didn't cooperate. Maybe with someone else, it would have worked.
"When the group caught me, Valverde countered immediately and it was impossible to follow them. I attacked again on the Bemelerberg but when the riders in front are attacking, it's not easy to get back on."
Van Avermaet has been consistent in recent weeks, but lacked the same sparkle that carried him to a glut of victories twelve months ago. This time around, the BMC rider's best showing in a Classic came when he took third at E3 Harelbeke, and he brought the curtain down on his cobbled Classics campaign with fourth at last week’s Paris-Roubaix.
"I've had good legs all spring, but the results haven't been as good. But my condition was good," Van Avermaet said. “I was never dropped, I rode on the front. Right now, I'm disappointed, but my holidays are beginning. I'm going to rest a little."
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