Tour of Utah: Van Avermaet goes close to second stage win but can’t drop Matthews
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tour of Utah: Van Avermaet goes close to second stage win but can’t drop Matthews

by VeloNation Press at 7:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“The plan was to make a gap like the first day. If I have a gap it is hard to take me back”

Greg Van AvermaetContinuing his strong showing in the Tour of Utah, Greg Van Avermaet clocked up his fourth podium finish on yesterday’s fourth stage, and his third consecutive runner-up slot. The stage one winner finished behind Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) in the Salt Lake City circuit race, having tried to tear clear on the hill inside the final kilometre.

Matthews had shown his speed in winning stage two and Van Avermaet was conscious that in a straight up sprint, the former world under 23 champion would almost certainly win.

Because of that, he knew he had to try to break the elastic on the hill near the finish.

“When I saw the parcours this morning, I was really motivated to win,” said a disappointed Van Avermaet afterwards. “I think I had a good chance. We were in position on the bottom of the climb. Just Mickey Schär had a problem with his bike, otherwise we would have gone from the bottom.”

Schär explained the issue afterwards, and said that he regretted how things had worked out. “It was really disappointing because my plan was to lead out Greg on the last climb,” he stated. “But I couldn't do it anymore because my back wheel was rubbing the brakes and I was too tired. So it was bad luck.”

As a result, Van Avermaet said that he had to wait longer in his bid to drop Matthews. “I gave everything on this climb and then I looked back on top of it and he was still on my wheel,” he said. “We were two guys alone and then you have to make a decision to go to the finish, or wait and take another chance to do the sprint.”

Van Avermaet decided on the latter, easing back slightly and then giving it everything inside the final 200 metres. However Matthews was quicker, pulling ahead to take his second stage in the race.

Van Avermaet’s stage one win came after he launched a superb solo move. He said after the stage that it was inspired by seeing team-mate Taylor Phinney’s successful attack in the Tour of Poland. Had things gone to plan yesterday, he would have soloed in alone again.

“The plan was to make a gap like the first day. If I have a gap it is hard to take me back,” he explained. “We tried to do it but if he is on the wheel, it is hard to beat him. We tried to play my card. I couldn’t do it any better, so it is like this.”

Van Avermaet has a consolation of holding onto the sprint classification lead. Still, it’s not what he was after. “It's feels good to be in purple, but the main goal was winning today,” he said.

The Belgian is second overall, 26 seconds behind the race leader Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp).

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