Van Avermaet has had a dry spell since taking the team’s third win of the season – and their most recent – in February at the Volta Valenciana. After coming second in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Deceuninck-Quickstep’s Zdenek Stybar, and third again behind Stybar and Wout Van Aert in the E3 BinckBank Classic in March, Van Avermaet’s 10th place in the Tour of Flanders was his best finish in the major Classics.
After coming 14th in the Amstel Gold Race, Van Avermaet opted to continue on through Liège-Bastogne-Liège before taking a break. The finale has been shifted from the uphill finish in Ans to a flat run-in to the centre of Liège, with 15km between the final ascent of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons and the finish, and the change could better suit the Belgian.
“I was happy with my legs and condition yesterday at Amstel Gold Race so, after taking a day to think about it, I have decided to line up at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday,” Van Avermaet said in a press release. “I think I have managed to maintain my form from the cobbled Classics to the Ardennes, and with the new finish in mind, I think I have a good chance to make a nice result. For sure, I will not be lining up as a favorite, but I will line up motivated to do my best and end the Classics season well.”
Sports Director Valerio Piva believes Van Avermaet’s presence on the team will open up their tactics.
“Despite a long Classics season, Greg had good sensations yesterday and is not feeling too tired so, with an easy week this week, he should recover well and be in a good position to start Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The new finish will suit Greg more than the previous editions, and it will probably mean the race will open up earlier than usual,” Piva said.
“Greg is, of course, our best option for a result, but we also have riders like Alessandro De Marchi, who was good yesterday to finish in seventh place, and Serge Pauwels, who showed his condition is also improving, so I think we will line up with a few cards to play. We will make the final team selection for Liège-Bastogne-Liège after La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.”
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com