Van Avermaet, whose best result at the UCI WorldTour race was fifth place in 2015, will be joined by a new CCC Team roster for the race which marks the transition from the cobbles to the hills of the Ardennes Classics.
“Greg Van Avermaet will line up as our main protected rider at Amstel Gold Race. After the cobbled races, it’s time to change the supporting riders in our roster and bring in the riders who are more suited to the short, steep climbs of the Ardennes Classics. In support of Greg, we will have Alessandro De Marchi, Patrick Bevin, Serge Pauwels, and Jonas Koch, who have come from the stage races in Spain, and Michael Schär and Łukasz Wiśniowski, who have lined up with Greg at all of the cobbled Classics. We have a mix of experience and riders set to make their debut,” Sports Director Valerio Piva explained.
“The course is exactly the same as last year’s edition so Greg knows it well, and the riders lining up for the first time will have the chance to see the course on Friday. Although Greg is our main leader, I think we have different cards to play with riders like Alessandro De Marchi motivated and in good shape. Hopefully, we will have a few riders with Greg in the finale and see how things play out.”
Van Avermaet is hoping to end his Classics season on a high to culminate what has been a consistent spring for the Belgian.
“Amstel Gold Race is my last chance to get a good result this spring. I was really disappointed after Paris-Roubaix knowing that I had the legs for a better result so, I am motivated to line up at Amstel Gold Race and turn things around. I have had good legs throughout the classics and although I am missing a big result, I think I have consistency showed that my form is good. It would be nice to end this first part of the season with a good result on Sunday,” Van Avermaet said.
“Amstel Gold Race is a different kind of race to the cobbled classics, of course, but out of all of the Ardennes Classics, it is the one that suits me the best. I think we have a good team with guys like Patrick Bevin, Alessandro De Marchi, and Serge Pauwels able to climb well and go on the attack or cover moves, which gives us options. Unlike the cobbled Classics, I don’t think there is any pressure on us to control the race so we will see how the race develops and hopefully be able to race aggressively.”
Amstel Gold Race (21 April)
Rider roster: Patrick Bevin (NZ), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jonas Koch (GER), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL)
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Steve Bauer (CAN) , Piotr Wadecki (POL)
Photos courtesy of Cor Vos.