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by Shane Stokes
February 28, 2018
Terpstra wins Le Samyn ahead of Gilbert and Gaudin; Ensing beats Mackaij and Kitchen to win Le Samyn des Dames; Lappartient floats possibility that Giro and Vuelta could be shortened; Following near-misses, Van Avermaet determined to finally win Strade Bianche; Details of 2018 Hammer Series announced, second event added to programme; French wing of bike hire company stops due to crime; Video: Groenewegen: Podium of jodium; Video: Bardiani-CSF at the Abu Dhabi Tour; Video: Phil Gaimon’s “Worst Retirement Ever:” Pike’s Peak
Olympic champion and 2017 Paris-Roubaix winner Greg Van Avermaet will attempt to improve on his second place in last year’s Strade Bianche this coming Saturday, with the Belgian leading the BMC Racing Team in the event.
“Strade Bianche is a race that is pretty honest, so I am looking forward to it,” he said, referring to the difficulty of the course and its role in determining the winner. “It is one of my favourite races in the year, and I hope the weather is okay because I do not love the cold that much, or the rain.
“We will see how it goes, but I am feeling motivated again. Last year, I was second, and I have been on the podium a few times already so hopefully this year I can win.” He will be backed by Italians Alberto Bettiol and Damiano Caruso, Swiss riders Stefan Küng and Micahel Schär, Spain’s Francisco Ventoso and his fellow Belgian Loïc Vliegen.
Directeur sportif Valerio Piva said that Van Avermaet’s past results showed that he should be the leader. “We know he is in good shape and he will have a good team around him. I expect Alberto Bettiol, as this is almost a home race for him, together with Damiano Caruso and Stefan Küng to be there in the final with Greg,” he said.
“Of course, we need to be careful and pay attention during the whole race and try to jump in the moves, but with the help of these guys, I think we can do a good race. We also have strong guys like Francisco Ventoso, Michael Schär and Loïc Vliegen there in support of Greg. It depends on the tactics of the race, and the weather forecast is not so good at the moment, but we will see what happens and hopefully we can produce a good result.”