Less than a week ago Greg Van Avermaet was denied the chance of winning the Clasica San Sebastian by a bumbling motorbike rider who knocked him off his bike. On Thursday, though, Van Avermaet had a motorbike to thank for his latest victory as he took the crown at a Derny criterium in Antwerp.
The BMC rider, who departed the Tour de France early to witness the birth of his first child, followed his driver’s wheel perfectly, completing 26.4km in 40:27, ahead of Zdenek Stybar and Sep Vanmarcke.
Van Avermaet joins an elite list of previous winners of the Antwerp Dernycriterium since its inception in 1999, including Johan Museeuw (2003), Tom Boonen (2004, 05 & 12), Robbie McEwen (2006 & 10), Mark Cavendish (2009), Andre Greipel (2013) and Fabian Cancellara (2014).
Post-Tour de France criteriums have a long history, with the big-name riders from the Grande Boucle turning out in front of the crowds and making a bit of money in the process.
With the eclectic winners list of the Antwerp criterium it shows there’s not one type of rider who has dominated the Derny event, with Classics specialists like Boonen, Cancellara and now Van Avermaet sharing spoils with sprinters like McEwen and Cavendish. Then Andy Schleck won in 2011, so literally anyone can win it.