Now second in GC, Van Avermaet dismisses any thoughts of racing for overall in Tour of Utah
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Now second in GC, Van Avermaet dismisses any thoughts of racing for overall in Tour of Utah

by VeloNation Press at 9:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Stage one winner drifts back due to time bonus gained by Matthews

Greg Van AvermaetAlthough he led the race after winning stage one and is now sitting second overall, Greg Van Avermaet has made clear that he doesn’t see himself challenging for the general classification in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

“The overall is not a goal for me,” he admitted after yesterday’s second stage, a 210.3 kilometre race to Torrey. “It's also better to save the team a little bit for the other stages so we can attack more and try to do something.”

The Belgian rider has been in fine form of late, clocking up two stages plus the overall in the Tour de Wallonie last month and then darting clear and holding off the sprinters to win Tuesday’s first stage of the Tour of Utah. However with some tougher stages coming up, he recognises that the climbers in the field will gain time on him.

The BMC Racing team competitor wore the race leader’s jersey yesterday and fought hard to try to hold on to it, but Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) picked up third in an intermediate sprint and then beat Van Avermaet to win the stage.

When the time bonuses were all totted up, that put Matthews one second ahead; Van Avermaet finished the day second overall.

He knew heading into the final gallop that the intermediate sprint gain had made him vulnerable to Matthews, who was second on day one. “I think I was in good position, but with 300 or 400 meters to go, the guys from Bontrager came with Jasper Stuyven and then I was a little bit blocked in,” he explained.

“Matthews started his sprint before me, at maybe 150 or 200 to go. I feel that I can go maybe a little bit faster, but I was too late and the finish was there.”

Matthews finished third at the day's second sprint line, earning the time bonus that moved him one-second ahead of Van Avermaet. Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) is third overall, 11 seconds back. Van Avermaet said losing the lead was not a huge disappointment. Van Avermaet's runner-up finish was his 18th top 10 result of the season.

BMC Racing Team assistant director Jackson Stewart does see one plus to what happened, and said that the team will remain ambitious. “It's nice we don't have to control the race anymore,” “But for sure, stage wins are still our number one goal. We'll see how the general classification starts to play out on Thursday, especially with the climb to Mt. Nebo.”


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