Greg Van Avermaet said he ‘hoped to be better’ but content with podium finish in Tour of Flanders

The Olympic champion still dreams of winning his home Monument 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Greg Van Avermaet said he’d hoped to be “just a little better” in the Tour of Flanders, but settled for a podium finish.

The Olympic champion, racing his first season as Classics leader for Ag2r-Citroën, wasn’t able to follow the decisive move as Kasper Asgreen, Mathieu van der Poel, and Wout Van Aert broke free of their rivals on the Oude Kwaremont.

But Van Avermaet, 35, rode a patient race in the second group on the road, eventually attacking with one other rider and sprinting to a strong third-place.

Speaking after the finish Van Avermaet, who has longed dreamed of winning the Tour of Flanders, said: “This was the best result achievable. 

“I wasn’t among the best, certainly not among the best three. “I knew from experience that I had to stay in the chasing group and that I could compete for the podium. 

“I am very pleased that I am still on the podium in the Ronde.” 

Van Avermaet has been fighting to win his home Monument, having already won Paris-Roubaix, E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

The Belgian has now finished on the podium four times, having said last year he is running out of chances to win the race.

After this year’s edition, he added: “It was a fast pace from the Molenberg and certainly not easy. I had hoped to be just a little better, but felt that I was not enough. I was good in the chase, but I didn't have the punch to follow the big men at those moments.”

>>> Mathieu van der Poel: ‘I started a good sprint, but immediately felt the legs were rough’   

Victory went to Deceuninck - Quick-Step’s Kasper Asgreen who, after launching a decisive attack which established an elite trio out front, took a surprise win by out-printing Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in the final. 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.