Van Avermaet on Flanders: ‘I hope this year is my year’; Benoot ‘ready to go full on Sunday’; Degenkolb says Flanders leadership is for Stuyven, he will target Roubaix; Gilbert: ‘We are confident in the team’s strength’; Vanmarcke, Langeveld re-sign with EF Education First – Drapac; Brennauer: Even without Longo Borghini, Wiggle High5 ‘has more than one card to play’; Martinez released from hospital, will not race until concussion is gone; Commemorating Mike Hall; Video: Maniac Does Wheelies On An Exposed Beam 130 Feet High
Favourites talk chances prior to Flanders, Vanmarcke extends: Daily News Digest
He’s thrice finished on the podium at the Tour of Flanders and now, lining out for the 12th time, Greg Van Avermaet feels he is where he needs to be to win the race. “I’m happy that the Tour of Flanders is finally here. I’m in the shape that I wanted to be in, but it’s going to be a difficult race,” he said.
“The Tour of Flanders is hard to win, as I know, but we are ready to try again this year. I think the team is good and I’m where I need to be. Out of all of the Classics, the Tour of Flanders is the one that fits me best so I hope that everything can go right on Sunday. The Classics are 90% about the legs and 10% luck. You can be as good as you want but everything has to go right on the day. I hope this year is my year.”
He will be backed by Alberto Bettiol, Jempy Drucker, Stefan Küng, Jürgen Roelandts, Michael Schär and Francisco Ventoso in the race. Fabio Baldato will be one of the directeur sportifs guiding the riders in the event and is optimistic.
“The Tour of Flanders is one of the most important races of the year for Greg and the team and I am confident that we have done everything possible to put Greg in a good position for Sunday,” he said. “Although we have one of the biggest favourites in Greg, I don’t think the pressure is on us to control the race. We have seen many strong riders and teams during the Classics and it is important that we focus on doing our own race and supporting Greg as much as possible.
“I think we will see a very aggressive race on Sunday but we are ready for a big battle. The team is good.”