“I’ve looked at the options and maybe it’s better to stop two weeks earlier than anything else and take some rest,” Van Avermaet told Belgian media outlet Sporza.
After winning Paris-Roubaix, E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Van Avermaet (BMC) tops the UCI WorldTour ranking with 3582 points. That’s a 130-point lead over second-placed Chris Froome (Team Sky), who won both the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
Although there are three WorldTour races still to go on the 2017 calendar – Il Lombardia, Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey and Tour of Guangxi – Froome is unlikely to contest any of them, and therefore will not make up the deficit over Van Avermaet.
Watch: Paris-Roubaix 2017 highlights
Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is in a distant third with 2545 points and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) fourth with 2544 points. Either rider would have to win all three remaining WorldTour races to overthrow Van Avermaet. A tall order, even for Sagan.
Van Avermaet intimated that he would not go into Il Lombardia in good condition if he decided to race in Italy.
“I have not done much in the last four weeks: the two Canadian races and the World Championships,” said Van Avermaet.
“I can’t say that I’m overweight, but it was mentally hard to keep training and stay focused for a few races. A little decompression is normal.”
Van Avermaet will take a break and then start preparing for the 2018 season, where he will be a heavily marked man in the Spring Classics.
Greg Van Avermaet’s 2017 WorldTour results
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Tour of Flanders, second
Strade Bianche, second
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, second
BinckBank Tour, fourth overall
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, seventh
Clásica de San Sebastián, eighth
Bretagne Classic-Ouest-France, 10th
Men’s UCI WorldTour ranking (on September 10)
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing 3582 points
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 3452 pts
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 2545 pts
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 2544 pts
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 2171 pts
6. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar 2105 pts
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 2049 pts
8. Dan Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 2040 pts
9. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo 1987 pts
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing 1882 pts