Greg Van Avermaet on Omega Pharma-Lotto: "We were totally bored with each other."
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Greg Van Avermaet on Omega Pharma-Lotto: "We were totally bored with each other."

by Jered Gruber at 5:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Belgian talent admits that relationship with Belgian team fizzled, now looking forward to new chances with BMC

Belgian talent, Greg Van Avermaet, has had a hard go of it the past two seasons after two sensational years kicked off his professional career. In only his second professional season in 2008, at the age of 23, Van Avermaet took a stage and the points jersey at the Vuelta a Espana. Van Avermaet was on everyone's lips as the rider on the fast track to greatness, but the last two years have turned up a lot of nothing. Then came the announcement that the 25 year old was heading to BMC for 2011, and soon after that, came his excellent 5th place finish at the World Championships in Geelong. A turnaround was in the works already.

Looking back, Van Avermaet agrees that he and his Omega Pharma-Lotto team had just grown apart. The relationship wasn't working for either party anymore, and both sides stopped performing well for the other.

"At Omega Pharma-Lotto, I felt like a piece of furniture. We were totally bored with each other. The results were not what I had expected or what the team had envisioned in my last two years. I was not bad, but victories did not materialize. We were spoiled during my first years with one victory after another," said the former Belgian Espoir National road champion to the Gazet van Antwerpen.

While Omega Pharma-Lotto wasn't working for Van Avermaet anymore, BMC looks just right for the up and coming rider. The cosmopolitan, international, forward thinking team is just what the all-arounder with the fast finish needed, according to the all-arounder with the fast finish.

"BMC is a progression from Lotto after four years. BMC is much more international. The language is English, but that gives me no problems."

Van Avermaet sees a lot of potential for the team in the cobbled classics next season. He feels he'll be a leader in the big one day classics, but he'll also have help in some big names.

"I feel that there is trust and faith. I am still a leader in the races, but I am not alone. With Ballan, Burghardt, and Quinziato, we are extremely well armed for Spring."

Interestingly, Van Avermaet doesn't mention the team's other major Classics standout, George Hincapie, or the team's budding classics star, Taylor Phinney. While some might consider Hincapie a rider past his prime and Phinney a rider that hasn't yet reached it, it seems a bit of an error to leave either out when talking about the team's possibilities next April. Even more so, Van Avermaet's lack of mention of his team's abilities in the Ardennes is of interest, as Van Avermaet is readying for his first real go at the Walloon classics.

"My spring will be slightly doctored. The team will not race the E3 Prijs. I want to build my reserves for the Walloon classic. Why don't I ride Paris-Roubaix? That goes beyond my skills, I recognized that last year, while the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege [fall within my abilities]."

Van Avermaet will likely not be a leader in the Ardennes considering the pedigree of last year's World Champion, Cadel Evans. He could still get a chance to ride for himself, but there's little doubt that Evans will be the man to watch from BMC in the hilly classics of the latter part of April.

Looking beyond the Classics, Van Avermaet's eyes are focused on a second chance at the World Championships, following this year's surprising ride. The nature of the course in Copenhagen would seem to open up the possibilities for the talent from Lokeren. With the World Championships in mind, Van Avermaet hopes to leave out the Tour de France in favor of using the Vuelta as his platform to achieve the necessary form for a legitimate chance at victory next September in Denmark.

"I will pass on the Tour. In view of the World Championships in Copenhagen, I much prefer to race the Vuelta. The World Championship course suits me, but then again, you never know."

With two down seasons, a promising result at the end of his second down season, and a switch to BMC, Van Avermaet once again looks to be in a position as a rider to watch. It seems that he could go either way at this point - ascend to the heights as one of the world's best, or settle into a spot as a good rider and teammate with an outside chance at big results in the Classics and sprints.

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