Greg Van Avermaet looking for redemption at Paris-Roubaix after omission from Belgian Worlds squad

The Belgian has represented his national team at the World Championships every year since 2007

Greg Van Avermaet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Greg Van Avermaet is looking to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on the World Championships on his home roads with a second victory at the rescheduled Paris-Roubaix.

Van Avermaet (Ag2r Citroën Team), now 36-years-old, is looking to re-find that spark which saw him take the final spot on the podium at the Tour of Flanders behind Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) earlier this year.

The Flandrien star has struggled to land major results in recent years with his last win the 2019 GP de Montréal. In the 2016 and 2017 seasons he had his most successful years, winning prolifically including in the Olympic Games road race and Paris-Roubaix.

>>> The Women's Tour will not be broadcast live on TV in 2021

Van Avermaet admitted his performances in 2021 were not good enough to force his way into a strong Belgium line-up for their home World Championships. Instead he rode the French one-day race Classique Paris-Chauny for his trade team, finishing 38th.

"My recent form was not good enough for me to be selected for the World Championships in Belgium," he said. "I have been part of the national team since 2007 and it was a bit difficult for me to miss this edition."

After a spell of illness earlier in the season, Van Avermaet felt his form was picking up after putting in a very solid ride on the final stage of the Benelux Tour around the cobbled climbs of Geraardsbergen, taking eighth place on the day on roads he knows "by heart".

"Despite everything, I will be happy to see Roubaix again after 18 months of waiting. I would have preferred to race it in the spring," Van Avermaet continued. 

"Especially since my form was good which my third place at the Tour of Flanders proved, but that’s how it goes. 

"Paris-Roubaix, even in October, remains a very important moment of the season and I really want to perform well through the end of the season and resume training for 2022 with high ambitions."

Van Avermaet lines up for the Queen of the Classics alongside Oliver Naesen in the seven-man Ag2r Citroën Team, as well as the experienced Michael Schär and Naesen's brother Lawrence.

The last time Paris-Roubaix was held was in 2019 with Belgian Philippe Gilbert (then at Quick-Step) out-sprinting German Nils Politt (then at Katusha-Alpecin) with Van Avermaet finishing in 12th.

This year's event comes after not taking place at all in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and was pushed back Sunday, October 3 in 2021 for the same reason. The race also will take place the day after the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.