Van Avermaet dedicates Tour de Yorkshire victory to Andy Rihs
May 07 2018 04:29 am CET

Van Avermaet dedicates Tour de Yorkshire victory to Andy Rihs
Van Avermaet dedicates Tour de Yorkshire victory to Andy Rihs
Photo of Greg Van Avermaet © Mary Cárdenas /

Greg van Avermaet took his second individual victory of the season today by winning Tour de Yorkshire. In the final stage he took the leader's jersey from Astana rider Magnus Cort Nielsen. The BMC rider finished second behind Cofidis' Stephane Rossetto, who finished off a magnificent solo in the streets of Leeds.

At the start of the day, there were less than thirty seconds between Cort Nielsen and Ian Bibby, who was 15th in the classification. Since the organisation saved the most difficult stage for the final day, this promised a spectacular race. The opening kilometres saw a lot of fighting to get in the day's breakaway. Eventually Rosetto managed to get away solo and the race settled down a little while Astana tried defending Cort’s leader’s jersey. The Cofidis rider went on to finish off his solo attack, thereby taking his first win since 2014.

Behind the lone French leader the fight for the GC intensified. BMC heavily attacked Cort Nielsen and he soon was dropped, paving the road for Van Avermaet's first GC win of the season, and an important one at that.

"First of all, I want to say that this is a victory for Andy Rihs. I'm really happy with the win. It's the first win for BMC Racing Team since Andy died so it was a goal to win the race in honor of him," the Belgian stated in a press release.

"We all had it in mind to win the race for him and tomorrow is his funeral. He supported our team for many years and I think that the work that the team did was really amazing. We had him in our minds and it was really great that we could finish it off. So thank you to Andy, thank you to the team, and I'm so happy that I can win this race. It was a great atmosphere and I'm happy to have the Tour de Yorkshire on my palmares. It's always nice to win a GC as it's not that easy for me."

While race leader Cort Nielsen soon got isolated, BMC helped Van Avermaet win the race with an impressive team effort. "We had a pretty good plan. Everybody is in good shape, everybody did what they had to do, and I'm super happy that I can finish it off. When the race opened up, we still had three or four guys there and we really tried to control the situation. We were only five guys but everyone did their best so it's nice to finish it off."

The great teamwork by the BMC Racing Team is also acknowledged by sports director Klaas Lodewyck: "The team did an amazing job. They all rode above and beyond. We really made the race exciting and this win feels amazing. I'm really happy for Greg and for the whole team."

By Siebe Kok



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