Greg Van Avermaet

Greg Van Avermaet

Van Avermaet after 2015 Paris–Roubaix
Personal information
Full name Greg Van Avermaet
Nickname Avi
Born (1985-05-17) 17 May 1985
Lokeren, Belgium
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Team information
Current team BMC Racing Team
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Classics specialist
Professional team(s)
2006 Bodysol–Win for Life–Jong Vlaanderen
2007–2010 Predictor–Lotto
2011– BMC Racing Team
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
2 individual stages (2015, 2016)
1 TTT stage (2015)
Vuelta a España
Points classification (2008)
1 individual stage (2008)

Stage races

Tirreno–Adriatico (2016)
Tour of Belgium (2015)
Tour de Wallonie (2011, 2013)

One-day races and Classics

Olympic Road Race (2016)
GP de Montréal (2016)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2016)
Paris–Tours (2011)

Greg Van Avermaet (born 17 May 1985) is a Belgian professional road bicycle racer, currently riding for UCI ProTeam BMC Racing Team.[1] He won the men's individual road race event at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[2][3] Other notable achievements include two stage wins in the Tour de France, the points classification and a stage win in the 2008 Vuelta a España, the 2016 Tirreno–Adriatico and several classic cycle races.


Early life and amateur career

Van Avermaet was born into a cycling-crazed family; both his father and grandfather were professional cyclists. He started cycle racing at the age of 19, having previously played football as a goalkeeper.[4] He is a former brother-in-law of Glenn D'Hollander, also a former professional cyclist. In 2006, on the Bodysol-Win For Life-Jong Vlaanderen team, he was Belgian amateur champion.

2007-2010: Silence/Omega Pharma-Lotto

Van Avermaet (pictured in 2007) raced four years for the Predictor–Lotto team

In 2007 he signed his first professional contract on World Tour team Predictor–Lotto and won four races in his maiden year.[5] In the Tour of Qatar, his first professional race for his new team, he won stage 5 in the sprint of a breakaway group, followed by a number of good finishes in smaller races. His results earned him a place in the line-up for the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix – his best result being 29th in Roubaix. A few months later he won a stage in the Tour de Wallonie, as well as the prestigious one-day race Rund um die Hainleite in Germany and the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen in Belgium.[6][7] He entered his first world championships, in Stuttgart, finishing 63rd in the road race.


Van Avermaet's breakthrough year was 2008. He finished third in E3 Harelbeke after being in a breakaway and eighth in his second Tour of Flanders.[8][9] In May, he won the Ardennes stage in the Tour of Belgium, but lost the leader's jersey the next day to Stijn Devolder and finished second overall. Later, he was fourth in the Belgian national road race championships.

In summer he won stages in the Tour de Wallonie and the Tour de l'Ain, as well as seventh place in the GP Ouest France in Plouay, before making his debut in a grand tour, the Vuelta a España. He made a remarkable debut, with a victory on stage 9 of the race, when he outsprinted ten other breakaway companions in Sabiñánigo, ahead of Davide Rebellin.[10] Following several other top-10 finishes, he also won the Vuelta's final points classification ahead of Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde.[11] One week later, he finished 17th in the world championships road race in Varese. At the end of 2008, he was awarded the Flandrien of the Year award by Belgian journalists.


2009 proved to be a difficult year, with one win, the Heistse Pijl, and several near-wins. He made his first appearance in the Tour de France with fourth and seventh places in the latter stages as best results. He finished the Tour de France in 89th place overall.


In 2010 he could not claim a win and was skipped in the line-up for the Tour de France. He placed 49th in his second Vuelta a España, before competing in the World Championships in Australia. He finished fifth in the men's road race in Geelong, in a sprint won by Thor Hushovd.[12] At the end of the season he stated he would leave his Omega Pharma–Lotto team.

2011: First classic victory in Paris–Tours after a sprint with Marco Marcato.

2011: Transfer to BMC and Paris–Tours victory

In 2011 he joined BMC Racing Team. After starting his season in the Tour of Qatar, he ran a remarkable campaign in the spring classics, in which he was one of the most attacking riders. Ninth place in Milan–San Remo and seventh in Liège–Bastogne–Liège were his best results. After the spring classics, he finished second in the Tour of Belgium.

In summer, he claimed his first victories for his new team. He won a stage and the points classification in the Tour of Austria,[13] and he won the overall classification and final stage in the Tour of Wallonia.[14] He entered the Eneco Tour and Vuelta a España in which he gained several top-20 stage results. In October he claimed his first classic victory, after beating Marco Marcato in a two-man sprint in Paris–Tours.[15] He finished the season with a second place in the Tour of Piemont and twelfth in the Tour of Lombardy.

2012-2014: Mister Almost


In the spring of 2012 Van Avermaet became a front-runner in the classics with several strong performances. Early in the season he was fifth in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche,[16][17] before focusing on the cobbled classics. He finished fourth in the Tour of Flanders, where he won the sprint at the finish in Oudenaarde 40 seconds behind the leading breakaway.[18]

In summer, he skipped the Tour de France again and came close to winning his first World Tour race in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. He attacked on the steep Côte de la Montagne with about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi), followed by Simon Gerrans, who prevailed in the uphill sprint finish.[19] He was second again five days later in the Grand Prix de Wallonie, before competing in the World championship road race in Valkenburg, in the Netherlands. He placed 25th in the race, after playing a helping role for his team mate Philippe Gilbert, who won the world title.[20] He ended his season with eight places in the Giro del Piemonte and sixth in Paris–Tours.[21]

Van Avermaet celebrating victory on Stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Utah

In 2013, Van Avermaet amassed several top-10 finishes in the spring classics. He finished fifth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, sixth in the Strade Bianche, third in Gent–Wevelgem, seventh in the Tour of Flanders, fourth in Paris–Roubaix and sixth in Brabantse Pijl, but again failed to claim a single win.

Later in the year, he had a strong summer campaign, starting with two stage wins and the overall classification in the Tour de Wallonie,[22][23] as well as a win in the first stage of the Tour of Utah and several top-5 stage finishes in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.[24] In the GP de Plouay he was caught by the peloton at 300 m from the finish after a late breakaway. In the Laurentian Classics in Canada, he finished third in the Grand Prix de Québec and fourth in the Grand Prix de Montréal.[25][26] Back in Europe, he finished 23rd in the World championship road race in Florence and 19th in the Giro di Lombardia.[27] At the end of 2013, with four victories, he won his second Flandrien of the Year award.[28]

Van Avermaet at the 2014 Tour de France

In 2014, Van Avermaet ran another strong spring campaign but again failed to win a classic race. He finished second in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Tour of Flanders, losing both races in the sprint.[29][30] In summer, he entered the Tour de France, in which he helped his leader Tejay van Garderen to fifth place overall.[31]

Later in the campaign, Van Avermaet took eighth place in the Clásica San Sebastián and fifth overal in the Eneco Tour, as well as one stage win. He finished fifth in the GP de Quebec – his third consecutive top-5 finish in Quebec – and seventh in the GP de Montréal.[32] In September, Van Avermaet earned a prestigious victory at the 1.HC-ranked Grand Prix de Wallonie. He was part of a four-strong breakaway and, with the peloton on their heels, Van Avermaet attacked in the final uphill bends to claim his second win of the season.[33] A couple of days later, he won the GP Impanis-Van Petegem, earning him the leadership in the Belgian line-up for the World championships in Ponferrada, Spain.[34] He was in the leading breakaway at the world championship, but despite the help of his BMC-team mate and fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert, he could not prevent an ultimate attack from Michał Kwiatkowski and finished fifth.[35] He ended the season with 39th place in Paris–Tours.[36]

At the end of 2014 he earned his third Flandrien of the year award as best Belgian rider of the year.[37]

In the spring of 2015 Van Avermaet was third in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris–Roubaix. (pictured on the podium of Paris–Roubaix with John Degenkolb and Zdeněk Štybar)

2015: Classics specialist and Tour de France stage win

In 2015, Van Avermaet started his season traditionally in the Middle-Eastern races Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman, where he placed third on two stages. After another top-ten finish in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, he finished second in Strade Bianche behind Zdeněk Štybar.[38] He claimed his first victory of the season on Stage 3 of Tirreno–Adriatico in an uphill-sprint finish, besting Peter Sagan and Zdeněk Štybar.[39] Coming into the cobbled classics, he crashed hard in E3 Harelbeke, nearly jeopardizing the April classics.[40] In April, Van Avermaet finished third in the Tour of Flanders after a strong performance. He dropped Peter Sagan in the final kilometers of the race while closing in on Alexander Kristoff, the eventual winner, and Niki Terpstra.[41] A week later, he earned another prestigious podium finish in Paris–Roubaix, finishing third in a seven-man sprint behind John Degenkolb and Zdeněk Štybar.[42] He ended his classics campaign with fifth place in Amstel Gold Race, despite being under investigation for doping at that time (see section below).[43]

Greg Van Avermaet at the team presentation for the 2015 Tour de France, in which he won one stage.

In May, in his build-up to the Tour de France, Van Avermaet won both the final stage and the overall classification in the Tour of Belgium.[44] He took part in the Tour de Suisse, finishing sixth on the Prologue and third in stage 4.[45] He entered the Tour de France, in which he helped BMC win the team time trial on Stage 9. On 17 July 2015, he won stage 13, his first individual Tour de France stage win. He outsprinted the green jersey, Peter Sagan, and fellow Belgian Jan Bakelants on an uphill finish in Rodez.[46] He withdrew from the race three days later to witness the birth of his first daughter.[47]

Less than two weeks later, on 1 August 2015, Van Avermaet looked on his way to victory in the Clásica de San Sebastián, when he was hit from behind by one of the motorbikes providing television coverage just before the top of the final climb. Suffering a broken bike frame, he was unable to finish and saw Adam Yates win the race.[48] In the aftermath of the incident, his BMC team claimed the crash had cost him victory and threatened legal action over “millions of dollars in lost publicity”.[49] A few days later he entered the Eneco Tour and finished second overall, trailing winner Tim Wellens by a minute.[50]

In his preparation for the world championships he placed fifth in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg and entered the Laurentian Classics in Canada.[51] Considered a favourite in the world championship road race in Richmond, he attacked on Libby Hill, the final climb of the race, but was overtaken by Peter Sagan and narrowly failed to stay in the Slovak's wheel. His attempts to catch Sagan failed as his chase companion Edvald Boasson Hagen was not allowed to work in the pursuit and both were caught by the returning peloton in the final kilometer.[52][53] Van Avermaet finished 23th.[54] His last race of the season was Paris–Tours, where he was in the winning three-man breakaway and the favourite to win the sprint, when he punctured just one kilometer from the line and finished a disappointing third.[55] At the end of the year, Van Avermaet was awarded both the Crystal Bicycle and Flandrien of the Year awards as best Belgian cyclist of the year,[56][57] and was second in the Belgian sportsman of the year poll behind footballer Kevin De Bruyne.[58]

On the podium of 2016 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with his daughter Fleur, Peter Sagan (l) and Tiesj Benoot (r).

2016: Olympic champion

In 2016 he opened the season strong with numerous top-5 placings in the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman.[59] In late February, he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, after beating Peter Sagan in a five-man sprint in Ghent.[60][61] He finished sixth in Strade Bianche,[62] before entering Tirreno–Adriatico, where he was on the winning team of the opening team time trial.[63] After the cancellation of Tirreno's queen stage, he won the sixth stage in a sprint with Peter Sagan,[64] and successfully defended his lead in the final time trial of Tirreno–Adriatico with one second over Sagan – his first overall win in a World Tour stage race.[65] The victory pushed Van Avermaet to the top of the UCI World Ranking for one week.[66][67] Following Tirreno, he finished fifth in Milan–San Remo but crashed and broke his collarbone in the Tour of Flanders.[68][69]

After his return from injury, he entered the Tour de France. He won stage 5 in Le Lioran, his second Tour de France stage win, after a long breakaway and having completed the final 17 km solo.[70] He also captured the yellow jersey, which he held for three days.[71]

On 6 August 2016, Van Avermaet won the men's individual road race at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[3] He initially joined a six-man breakaway on the first of three passes of the 25.7 km (16.0 mi) Vista Chinesa Circuit loop, and managed to stay in contact with several climbing specialists on the next ascents. Van Avermaet was distanced by Vincenzo Nibali, Sergio Henao and Rafał Majka on the final climb, but after Nibali and Henao crashed out of the race on the final descent, Van Avermaet tandemed with Jakob Fuglsang to catch Majka on the run-in to the finish.[72][73] Van Avermaet won the three-man sprint on Copacabana beach to earn the Olympic gold medal.[74][75]

Later in the season he finished second in the Grand Prix de Québec behind Peter Sagan, he won the Grand Prix de Montréal before Sagan,[76] ended fourth overall in the Eneco Tour,[77] as well as fourth in Binche–Chimay–Binche.[78] He ended the season with 10th place at the world championship road race in Qatar.[79]

Doping allegations

In April 2015 the Royal Belgian Cycling League requested a two-year ban for Van Avermaet, the disqualification of all his results during the 2012 season and a €262,500 fine following an investigation into suspected anti-doping offences. It was reported in the Belgian media that their accusations focused on allegations of Van Avermaet's use of the corticoid Diprophos, and Vaminolact, a fortified baby food which is banned from being injected.[80][81] On 7 May 2015, it was announced that Van Avermaet was cleared of all allegations.[82]

Career achievements

Major results

1st National Under-23 Road Race Championships
1st Internationale Wielertrofee Jong Maar Moedig
1st Kattekoers
2nd Paris–Tours Espoirs
4th Grand Prix de Waregem
1st Stage 5 Tour of Qatar
1st Stage 2 Tour de Wallonie
1st Rund um die Hainleite
1st Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen
3rd Ronde van het Groene Hart
3rd GP Briek Schotte
4th Grand Prix d'Isbergues - Pas de Calais
4th Nokere Koerse
6th Halle–Ingooigem
8th Vattenfall Cyclassics
9th Overall Tour of Belgium
Vuelta a España
1st Points classification
1st Stage 9
1st Stage 3 Tour de Wallonie
1st Stage 2 Tour de l'Ain
2nd Overall Tour of Belgium
1st Stage 3
3rd Overall Tour of Qatar
3rd E3 Prijs Vlaanderen
7th GP Ouest France- Plouay
7th Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem
7th Overall Tour de Picardie
8th Tour of Flanders
1st Heistse Pijl
4th National Road Race Championships
4th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
4th Halle–Ingooigem
5th Overall Tour of Belgium
5th Grand Prix d'Isbergues
6th Grote Prijs Jef Scherens
9th GP du Canton d'Argovie
3rd Halle–Ingooigem
5th UCI World Road Race Championships
7th Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem
8th Brabantse Pijl
9th Overall Tour de L'Ain
1st Overall Tour de Wallonie
1st Stage 5
Tour of Austria
1st Points classification
1st Stage 6
1st Paris–Tours
2nd Gran Piemonte
2nd Overall Tour of Belgium
3rd Clásica de San Sebastián
4th Halle–Ingooigem
7th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
7th Binche–Chimay–Binche
9th Milan–San Remo
9th Strade Bianche
2nd Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
2nd Grand Prix de Wallonie
4th Tour of Flanders
5th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
5th Strade Bianche
5th Brabantse Pijl
6th Paris–Tours
8th Gran Piemonte
9th Trofeo Deià
1st Overall Tour de Wallonie
1st Points classification
1st Stages 3 & 5
1st Stage 1 Tour of Utah
3rd Gent–Wevelgem
3rd Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
3rd Binche–Chimay–Binche
4th Paris–Roubaix
4th Gullegem Koerse
4th Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
5th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
6th Overall Tour of Qatar
1st Stage 2 (TTT)
6th Strade Bianche
6th Brabantse Pijl
6th Grand Prix of Aargau Canton
7th Tour of Flanders
1st Grand Prix de Wallonie
1st GP Impanis-Van Petegem
2nd Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
2nd Tour of Flanders
5th Overall Eneco Tour
1st Stage 5
5th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
5th UCI World Road Race Championships
7th Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
10th E3 Harelbeke
10th Overall Tour of Belgium
1st Overall Tour of Belgium
1st Stage 4
Tour de France
1st Stages 9 (TTT) & 13
1st Stage 3 Tirreno–Adriatico
2nd Strade Bianche
2nd Overall Eneco Tour
3rd Tour of Flanders
3rd Paris–Roubaix
3rd Paris–Tours
5th Overall Tour of Qatar
5th Amstel Gold Race
5th Vattenfall Cyclassics
6th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
7th Overall Tour de Yorkshire
10th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
1st Road Race, Olympic Games
1st Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stages 1 (TTT) & 6
Tour de France
1st Stage 5
Held after Stages 5–7
1st Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
1st Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
1st Gullegem Koerse
1st Stage 5 (TTT) Eneco Tour
1st UCI World Ranking (1 week)
2nd Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
3rd Overall Tour of Qatar
3rd National Road Race Championships
4th Overall Eneco Tour
4th Binche–Chimay–Binche
5th Milan–San Remo
5th Clásica de San Sebastián
6th Strade Bianche
9th Gent–Wevelgem
10th UCI World Road Race Championships

Grand Tour general classification results timeline

Grand Tour 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Pink jersey Giro
Yellow jersey Tour 89 38 WD 44
red jersey Vuelta 66 49 83

WD = Withdrew; In Progress = IP

World championships and Olympics road race results timeline

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Rainbow jersey World 63 17 44 5 175 25 23 5 23 10
Gold medal Olympics 92 1

WD = Withdrew; In Progress = IP

Classics results timeline

This chart shows Greg Van Avermaet's progress in the classics he mostly participated in.

Year Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Strade Bianche Milan–San Remo Tour of Flanders Paris–Roubaix Amstel Gold Race Liège–Bastogne–Liège Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal Paris–Tours
2007 84th - - - 29th - - - - 48th
2008 - - 53rd 8th 27th 85th - - - 132rd
2009 4th - 13th 35th 38th - - - - 14th
2010 108th 14th 47th 39nd 27th - - - - 16th
2011 30th 9th 9th 22nd - 24th 7th - - 1st
2012 4th 5th 69th 4th - 36th 73rd 2nd 14th 6th
2013 5th 6th 36th 7th 4th 16th 63rd 3th 4th 48th
2014 2nd - 25th 2nd 17th 40th - 5th 7th 39th
2015 6th 2nd 19th 3rd 3rd 5th - 10th 37th 3rd
2016 1st 6th 5th DNF - - - 2nd 1st 77th

DNF = Did not finish; - = Did not compete


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