Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has decided to skip Il Lombardia and end his season with immediate effect. The Belgian has an unassailable lead atop the UCI WorldTour standings and has decided to bring a slightly early halt to his campaign in order to enjoy a longer lay-off ahead of the 2018 season.
“I’ve looked at the options and maybe it’s better to stop two weeks earlier and take some rest than do anything else,” Van Avermaet said, according to Sporza.
Van Avermaet experienced a sparkling run of form in the Spring, winning Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and placing second at the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche.
The Belgian made the World Championships in Bergen the centrepiece of the final part of his season, but he had to settle for sixth place behind Peter Sagan in the sprint. Van Avermaet placed second at the Grand Prix de Québec in the build-up to the Worlds to pad out his WorldTour lead.
“On the one hand, it has been a long season in which I participated to win everywhere I went. At the end of the season, you look at your options. Perhaps I would like to ride Il Lombardia, but the race is two weeks after the World Championships,” Van Avermaet explained.
“It was difficult to keep race form, so it might be better to stop two weeks earlier and take some rest with a view to next year. Il Lombardia is one of the hardest races of the year, and you either start with ambition and try to win, or you stay at home.”
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