If Greg Van Avermaet’s pregnant wife wasn’t in labour before stage 13 she might be now after the Belgian’s storming win in Rodez, but the BMC rider says he will stay at the Tour de France until the baby is due.
The Classics specialist showed his versatility in the sweltering heat of southern France, holding off Peter Sagan up the final climb and over the 200 flat metres to the finish line.
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And with no news on the home front, Van Avermaet insists he’s ready to stay with the team to guide Tejay van Garderen to Paris.
“If I go home or not will be a decision for me and my team,” he said. “There is no due date yet, so I will still be here to support Tejay.
“It’s been a great Tour for BMC – winning three stages already – but I’ll see how it goes. I’ll see about the situation at home, but for now I’m still at the Tour.”
Rohan Dennis’s surprise win on the opening time trial heralded the start of a good Tour for BMC so far, with a team time trial win and van Garderen sitting second in the general classification after stage 13.
Van Avermaet’s win in Rodez was a battle between two of the Classics season’s nearly men, with serial runner-up Peter Sagan unable to trump the Belgian over the closing metres.
“It was really hard,” he added. “I didn’t know who was in my wheel but I went pretty early and just kept on going. I saw there was someone right there in my wheel with 200m to go and I was really tired.
“I just hoped that he wouldn’t pass me – the last 200m were really long, but I was happy that I could hold on for the win and experience a victory like this.”
When quizzed on his tendency to end up as the bridesmaid at the major races – coming third in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix this year – Van Avermaet insisted he was on course to meet his expectations for the year.
“I’m maybe not the guy who’s going to win 20 races a year, but I’m always aiming for six or seven victories,” he said. “I have four now but there’s still a bit of the season to go.
“I could have won more, that’s for sure – I was on the podium a few times in the Classics. Winning like this shows people that I can do it and it’s good for my confidence.”
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