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"I will start as a leader in the classics: from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad until Roubaix I am the number one. In the Amstel Gold Race I will support Phil."

Photo: A.S.O.




18.12.2015 @ 05:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

BMC has presented its 2016 team for next season to the media in the Spanish city of Denia. Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert are the classics leaders. Van Avermaet knows what he wants in 2016: a classisc victory. "I was often close, but I feel that I make progress every year.”


For Van Avermaet, 2015 was a “great year." He finished third in the Tour of Flanders, third in Paris-Roubaix, won a stage in the Tour and picked up his fourth Flandrien trophy as the best Belgian rider. However, the BMC leader wants to do even better in 2016.


"I feel that I still make progress every year and I was already close to that classics victory a few times. Next year it has to come together. I finally want to win a classic and I know I can do it,” he told Sporza.


"Especially my stage victory in the Tour gives me confidence. Now I know that I can beat guys like Peter Sagan and co. I always take part in the finals of the Flemish classics. If I continue to work as I do now and everything falls into place, I should be able to get that win."


Van Avermaet feels after the winter. "I feel that I get a little stronger every year. I am sharper than I hve been during this period in other seasons and pay better attention to my diet. In other years I gave gained some weight in the first part but that is not the case now.”


Unlike many others, including Philippe Gilbert, Van Avermaet already knows where he will be active next season. "I will start as a leader in the classics: from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad until Roubaix I am the number one. In the Amstel Gold Race I will support Phil.


"I know that the management has not yet decided whether he will start in De Ronde. I know he wants to ride it but that does not make much difference for me. I'm not concerned about what races he does. What's important to me is that I will start as captain.


"Phil has had a few very good results in De Ronde. If he starts, he will probably want to be leader. In itself, that is not so bad. Sometimes it's better to start with two leaders. Something can always happen, just look at my crash at E3.”


Van Avermaet will start the new season in the Middle East: "I like to ride in Qatar and Oman. I feel good in warm weather and prefer to rider in the Middle East than in France or Spain where you can still have very bad weather. The races are also good: you always have to fight for your position and the stages are not too long.”


Philippe Gilbert still doesn't know whether he will so in the Tour of Flanders even though he has already made it clear that he wants to be at the start of De Ronde in Brugge.


"Of course I would like to be there. I have never won De Ronde, I love the race and I can win it. So I want to ride it at least once in my career. The management has not made a decision yet, but there is still enough time.


"Personally, I really want to be at the start. I am convinced that if you take good care, you can maintain the good form from the Tour of Flanders to the Walloon classics," concluded Gilbert.



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