Van Avermaet wants a better season, believes in Tour of Flanders win
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Van Avermaet wants a better season, believes in Tour of Flanders win

by Conal Andrews at 1:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Promising young Belgian rider Greg Van Avermaet looked poised for a strong 2009 but instead performed at a reduced level compared to the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

As a result, he has focussed on starting 2010 fresher than before, and hopes that this will make a difference.

“We cannot say that my year was bad, but it was disappointing,” the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider admitted to “I probably did too much last winter, after a very long season that saw me battle in the [2008] Tour of Spain to win the points jersey and also to participate in the world championships. I probably trained too hard and didn’t take enough rest.

“During the races, I always had this feeling that I lacked something in the final. But when realises that [being overtrained], it is usually too late. I didn’t want to make this mistake again this year and I took more rest, for example training less in November and December.”

Van Avermaet came to prominence three years ago when he won the fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar. He went on to grab victories on a stage of the Tour de Wallonie, in the Rund und dem Hainleite-Erfurt and the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen, as well as placing eighth in the Vattenfall Cyclassics.

Belgian cycling was on a high after Tom Boonen had showed similar excellence at a young age, and many believed that Van Avermaet was going to also become one of the world’s best one-day riders. After all, he was just 21 when he took that Qatar victory, and so more big results seemed assured.

He continued his progression in 2008, winning a stage in the Vuelta a España plus the points classification, as well as taking stage victories in the Tour de l’Ain and the Tour of Belgium. Van Avermaet also finished second overall in the latter event, third overall in the Tour of Qatar, third in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and eighth in the Tour of Flanders.

However 2009 simply wasn’t at the same level. The number of good performances dropped and it was clear he had not progressed. Despite that, he remains convinced that he can perform at the very top level in the sport.

“My season was less good but this does not diminish my ambitions,” he stated. “They remain high. I still think I can win the Tour of Flanders. In 2008, I finished eighth, and last year I was in the sprint for third place. So the difference was not huge.”

Van Avermaet will head back to the Tour of Qatar this year, hoping to clock up more good results in the dry Gulf state. He hopes that starting off in those barren surroundings will help the season be a fruitful one.


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