The 30-year-old, who will lead BMC at next week’s Tour of Qatar (February 8-12), is regarded among the best one-day racers in the peloton, but his most notable triumph was in the 2011 edition of Paris-Tours.
Nonetheless, Van Avermaet is confident that he can finally break his duck in the sport’s biggest races in the coming months.
“I think this could be the year, I am aiming for a big classic, I am always up there and it is always one of my biggest goals,” he told Cycling Weekly. “We have a really strong team, a bit older, a bit better and the team know the courses well.”
“It is really hard every year and we now have a generation of sprinters who can also ride the classics, [but] I have to believe in myself. I think I can beat these guys in the end.”
Because of his consistent nature in Flanders, and well as Paris-Roubaix (in which he has finished third and fourth in the past three years), speculation has linked him to join Trek for 2017. The team will lose its Classics talisman Fabian Cancellara when he retires at the end of the year.
“I am really happy at BMC at the moment, BMC are in the leading position to offer a new contract and see if they want to build a team around me,” he added. “But I will see if someone offers me something interesting and then choose what will make my career as successful as possible.”
One thing that Van Avermaet believes will help his career is becoming father for the first time to a baby daughter, Fleur, last summer.
“The first four months were not that easy” he joked. “It’s a nice experience and a lot of fun. It also gives extra motivation and you feel as if you have to protect and provide for her. It won’t change me but motivate me.”