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by Mark Zalewski
March 30, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kristoff wins second stage of De Panne, Gilbert extends lead; Avila wins a second stage at Tour de Taiwan; Better than ever at Spring Classics, Durbridge sets his eyes on Flanders and Roubaix; Hall closes in on Allegaert as the Indian Pacific Wheel Race approaches its final 1,000km; Keukeleire out of De Panne with Achilles injury; 15 riders, including stage winner Gilbert, fined for riding sidewalks at De Panne opener; Gamesmanship between Quick-Step Floors and Sagan heading into Flanders; Van Avermaet confident heading into Flanders; Bouhanni extends with Cofidis for two years; Gaviria leaves Classics to focus on Giro; Team Sunweb gives injury updates; Bernard Hinault inducted into Giro hall of fame; Phil Gaimon’s “Worst Retirement Ever,” episode 1: Palomar; Cross is not coming (yet).
After winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet has every reason to be confident as the clear favourite for the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
“My win on Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem was incredible and as I said then, I don’t think I can pretend that I’m not the favorite anymore for the Tour of Flanders. I’ve had the best start to the season possible and what gives me even more confidence is knowing that my favorite race, the race that suits me the most, is still to come,” Van Avermaet said.
“Lining up on Sunday will be a really special feeling. I know I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in Spring and this year the race passes my house. I say it every year; I know the roads so well, I train every day on the parcours, and this year I feel like it’s my turn.
“I’m going to race aggressively and I have seven riders completely dedicated to helping me win. There’s nothing more I can do to prepare. I’m ready.”
“We will do everything possible to put Greg in a good position in the finale and let him do what he does best,” said director sportif Fabio Baldato. “I think the whole team is excited to race this Sunday, it’s the most important race for us this Spring.”