Van Avermaet: Birth of first child more important than Tour de France

BMC's Greg Van Avermaet says he will leave the Tour de France early if his wife goes into labour during the race

Greg Van Avermaet attacks off the front in the last 20km (Watson)

(Image credit: Watson)

Greg Van Avermaet insists it is up to his BMC team whether they select him for July's Tour de France, with the Belgian adament he will leave early should his wife go into labour during the race.

Van Avermaet and his partner Ellen are expecting their first child, which is reportedly due on the final day of the Tour, but should the birth come earlier, the 30-year-old would leave the race to be present at the birth.

Fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert is expected to be named in the nine-man squad to help Tejay Van Garderen in the general classification, with the race going through their homeland en route from the Grand Depart in Utrecht to France.

"The team has to decide who will ride the Tour," Van Avermaet told Het Nieuwsblad.

"The birth of my first son or daughter takes precedence for me. I definitely want to be there, Tour de France or not."

Van Avermaet's season and immediate future looked in jeopardy earlier this year when he appeared before a disciplinary committee over doping charges.

But in May he was cleared of all charges and celebrated by winning the Belgium Tour - his first race since being cleared.

The BMC man has already eyed up a few stages that take his fancy in the early stages of the Tour, although he admits the stage three finish on the Mur de Huy is too difficult for him.

But as the race heads towards the Pyrenees in week two, the Belgian admits there is not much left for him to target.

"There are the cobbles [on stage four], but I'm also a type that can do well uphill," he added. "The first week there are some possibilities for a stage win but the Mur de Huy is just too difficult for me.

"The stage with the Mur de Bretagne I will see or sit back. Then it goes to the Pyrenees and it is nothing more for me.

"I am now waiting to see how the pregnancy of my wife runs. The birth takes precedence over everything, and my Tour participation, therefore, depends on that."

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