Van Avermaet will be backed by the same riders who lined up at E3 BinckBank Classic, where Van Avermaet sprinted to third place, Sports Director Fabio Baldato said.
“Greg Van Avermaet may not have stood on the top step of the podium at the Classics so far this year, but he has proved race after race that he is one of the strongest and we have full confidence in him for the Tour of Flanders. In support of Greg, we have our three Belgians; Gijs Van Hoecke, Nathan Van Hooydonck, and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, as well as Michael Schär, and the Polish duo of Kamil Gradek and Łukasz Wiśniowski. We are taking seven healthy riders to the start line, all of whom will do the maximum they can to support Greg until the finale,” Baldato explained.
“Greg performs best when the race is super hard and given the length of the Tour of Flanders, it’s the perfect race for him. If everything goes to plan in the race then we expect Greg to be fighting for the win, so we hope this year may be his year.”
With 12 previous participation’s to his name, including three podium results, Van Avermaet recognizes how difficult it is to win the Tour of Flanders.
“Every year, I line up at the Tour of Flanders saying the same thing. I’m strong, I’m confident in my form, and I’m motivated to win. Nothing has changed this year. I know I’m capable of winning the Tour of Flanders but it hasn’t happened yet in my career. I hope to change that on Sunday. The Classics are unpredictable so everything has to go your way. If everything goes my way then I’m confident that I can be back on the podium this year.”
“We saw at Gent-Wevelgem how chaotic it is when the race is aggressive from the beginning and this definitely suits me, especially in a race like the Tour of Flanders which is longer and harder anyway. Normally, the race is fairly controlled until we hit the last 100 kilometers or so and then it’s all about positioning, the legs, and a little bit of luck.”
Victory at the Tour of Flanders would add a second Monument title to Van Avermaet’s already impressive career, after securing his first Monument win at Paris-Roubaix in 2017.
Tour of Flanders (7 April 2019)
Rider Roster: Kamil Gradek (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA)