Greg Van Avermaet takes extended off-season to try and peak later into 2020 Classics

The Belgian has taken six weeks off of the bike this autumn

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Greg Van Avermaet is extending his off-season to peak later into the 2020 season for the spring Classics, says his CCC Team.

The 2016 Olympic champion pushed his break out two weeks longer, from four to six, in order to be flying when he faces races like the Tour of Flanders in April.

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"We want to prevent Greg from getting into shape too quickly, so that he can peak for the classics," sports director Valerio Piva told Het Nieuwsblad.

"Greg has been very good during his first races in early February in recent years, but these are actually preparation races. In 2019 he was very good in the Classics, from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to E3 Harelbeke, but afterwards he fell a bit quiet.

"With this new approach, we want to prevent him from getting back into shape too early."

The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad opens up the Classics season on March 2, but the big cobbled Classics come only one month later. The E3 BinckBank Classic is on March 29, but Van Avermaet and CCC Team want him to be sharp for the Tour of Flanders, April 7, and Paris-Roubaix, April 14.

"When Greg broke his ankle in the winter of 2016 and could only start training later, he rode his best spring. We now want to simulate that plan," continued Piva.

"In consultation with his trainer Max Testa, we have decided to rest for a long time and start again slowly. Greg knows the importance of resting, but he is so driven and has a temperament that made him forget that rest."

That rest left Van Avermaet time to reset. Sometimes he would walk for long periods over the last six weeks, but that is it.

"The intention to insert a long break and to completely reset my body," Van Avermaet said. "I needed it after a tough season.

"I don't have to hurry. It is more than three months before the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad."

On December 2, Van Avermaet will head to a training camp in Spain a week earlier than his team-mates so that he can leave a week earlier to be back home for the birth of his second child.

In early January, he will go to Tenerife to train at altitude. It is a 'new' method for Van Avermaet who tried it for the first time since 2013 to prepare for the 2019 Worlds in Yorkshire. The Worlds on September 29, when he finished eighth, was his last race of the season.

Van Avermaet will stay home instead of going to the Tour of Oman, likely starting his season and run for the Classics with the Vuelta a Valenciana on February 6.

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