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"I was pretty strong and I was confident to keep it all together for my sprint because I felt I was fastest of the group. But with the attacks, it always slowed down again and the peloton was coming back. So it was a little bit tricky....

Photo: Sirotti

BMC RACING TEAM

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GP DE WALLONIE

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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17.09.2014 @ 19:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Greg Van Avermaet proved that he is a very strong outsider for the World Championships when he won today's GP de Wallonie. The Belgian admitted that the finale had been tricky but he was always confident that he would be able to win the uphill sprint.

 

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet notched his second victory of the season Wednesday by attacking out of a small group to win Grand Prix de Wallonie. Van Avermaet and three others – defending champion Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) – shook free of the peloton in the final 20 kilometers of the 198.2-km race. The quartet enjoyed as much as a 35-second lead approaching the final climb, the Citadelle de Namur, before Bakelants attacked unsuccessfully several times on the cobblestones.

 

"I was pretty strong and I was confident to keep it all together for my sprint because I felt I was fastest of the group," Van Avermaet said. "But with the attacks, it always slowed down again and the peloton was coming back. So it was a little bit tricky."

 

Inside the final 300 meters, with Vanendert's teammate, Tony Gallopin, having bridged to the group, Van Avermaet went to his sprint entering the final right-left curve before the finish and had enough time to sit up and celebrate the BMC Racing Team's 26th win of the season.

 

"I am really happy with this result because it gives me a good feeling going toward the worlds," Van Avermaet said. "I was already good in Canada, but my sprint was never really great there. Today, everything went perfectly."

 

Van Avermaet was fifth and seventh, respectively, at the Grands Prix Cycliste races in Canada Friday and Sunday. His first win of the season came last month on Stage 5 of the Eneco Tour of Benelux.

 

"It is always hard to do this race after Canada," Van Avermaet said, "but it is one of the nice races at the end of the year in Belgium. So it is always worth it."

Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) finished second, two seconds after Van Avermaet, while Bakelant was third. BMC Racing team's Dylan Teuns finished sixth and earned best young rider honors.

 

A stagiaire who has signed with the BMC Racing Team for 2015, Teuns said he had a front-row seat to watch the chase of Van Avermaet's group, which was led by Tinkoff-Saxo.

 

"On the last climb, I was just sitting there and making the other guys do the work. It was perfect," he said. "I was a little bit scared toward the end because there were a lot of good guys and then Gallopin attacked. I went with the counter and just followed the guys in front of me. Then I looked up ahead and saw that Greg was gone."

 

BMC Racing Team's Steve Morabito, racing for the first time since a crash knocked him out of the Vuelta a España, finished 13th and just behind the group containing Teuns.

 

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said the team, which started only seven riders, did a good job of monitoring two breakaways before Van Avermaet's group escaped. "

 

Greg was really good and I thought he raced really smart today," Sciandri said. "This was not an easy race and it was a great win for the team and for Greg as he looks ahead to the worlds."

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