Greg Van Avermaet at the Benelux Tour.

Greg Van Avermaet blames lack of form on COVID vaccination

The 2016 Olympic gold medalist is already writing off his chances of contention at the World Championships.

by Abby Mickey

photography by Getty Images

Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) is already writing off the World Championships in Belgium in September, saying his immune system has been compromised by the coronavirus vaccine he received in June.

“I got my results on Monday night and it’s not really good. That is to say: Nothing can be seen from the blood values. Perfect, as always, which is also my great strength,” Van Avermaet said, according to Het Nieuwsblad, after undergoing tests. “Other data proves that there is something wrong with my immune system. My body is fighting an unknown adversary and that is probably the vaccine.”

Van Avermaet, 36, put up some solid results in his Spring Classics campaign, finishing as high as third at the Tour of Flanders, but has not factored as heavily in the races that followed. He raced the Tour de France, but did not finish inside the top 20 on any stages for the first time in eight straight Tour appearances.

“I sleep well, train well and feel good, but I am missing 3% of my top form,” he said.

Van Avermaet is currently racing at the Benelux Tour, but found himself out of contention early on after finishing behind a split on the windy opening stage. Given his form, Van Avermaet says that he is not expecting to factor at Worlds, even on home turf in Flanders.

“The World Championships make no sense this way,” he said. “There are a lot of Belgian riders at the moment much better than me and that’s why they deserve that World Championships selection more than I do.”

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