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by Matt de Neef
April 10, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Greg Van Avermaet wins his first Monument at Paris-Roubaix; Alejandro Valverde victorious at the Tour of the Basque Country; Ellen van Dijk wins the Healthy Ageing Tour, Moberg takes final stage; Eddie Dunbar solos to victory in U23 Tour of Flanders; Tom Boonen closes his illustrious career with 13th at final Paris-Roubaix; Mat Hayman reflects on his 2017 Roubaix; Cyclist fighting for life after hit-run on Mornington Peninsula; Snow falls on Baw Baw Classic; Andre Boonen on his son Tom’s greatest moments; Inside the peloton at Paris-Roubaix.
After a fast and tactical Paris-Roubaix that saw a reversal of fortunes for many pre-race favourites, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing took his first Monument victory in the Roubaix velodrome, beating out Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac).
Van Avermaet, who also won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke, and Gent-Wevelgem this spring, has often said that the short, cobbled climbs of west Flanders suit him better than the heavy cobblestones of northern France. Yet on Sunday, his strength, determination in the face of adversity, and strong support from teammate Daniel Oss, delivered Van Avermaet the hallowed cobblestone trophy.
“This was maybe the race I thought I was not able to win,” Van Avermaet said. “When I first came here I was so tired at the finish line, and it was not really what I was expected but I am so happy that I did it. I think everything went perfectly. For me the Olympics will always be my greatest win but now it’s really nice to have a Monument, too.
“I was a bit afraid of Stybar, because he was not working with us, but my sprint felt really good and I was really fast after this kind of long race. I was really confident in my sprint because I have sprinted several times from a small group. At the end of a hard race I’m always one of the fastest guys. I went onto the track with the thought that I was going to win. I’m really happy to win my first Monument because I have had to wait a really long time to finally get on the big spot of the podium.”
Stybar was visibly disappointed at having finished second in what was his team leader Tom Boonen’s final race. “We supported Tom today,” he said. “We wanted to give 100% for him, because he deserved that, and even when he was in the chasing group I was still hoping he was going to come back. Only when we got news of him being around 40 seconds behind I started thinking of my chances. I assure you it wasn’t easy today, as we went full gas from kilometre zero and all the teams made their strategy around us.”
Follow the link to read more at CyclingTips.