At 37, a small dose of realism about taking in your youthful rivals isn’t any dangerous factor and so Paris-Roubaix winner Greg Van Avermaet has reshuffled his targets and priorities for 2023.
Somewhat than attempt to construct steadily in the direction of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, Van Avermaet has determined to focus on Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 25. And afterwards, che sera, sera.
Van Avermaet is a double winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and was third final yr. That end result was one of many highlights of a troublesome 2022 season for the previous Olympic champion and AG2R Citroën crew chief.
Van Avermaet has archived 2022 and after a strong winter of coaching is completely satisfied to again on the Tour of Oman, one in all his favorite ‘warm-up’ races for the Classics.
“The crew was not right here final yr so I had no possibility, however I’ve been right here 10 instances, I feel,” Van Avermaet, who gained a stage of Oman and led general for 2 days in 2018, informed Cyclingnews earlier than stage 2.
“It’s acquired lots of exhausting finals, which is nice, and the climate is nice – not too scorching, not too chilly. There’s virtually no jet lag, it’s far more stress-free than different ones in Europe and well-organised and I all the time discover I do properly within the Classics after this.”
When Van Avermaet returns to Europe he can be again within the thick of the motion virtually instantly at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Belgian Opening Weekend, which marks the tip of the ‘early-season’ and the beginning of the spring Classics.
“Getting end result there’s all the time good as a result of it offers you a little bit of confidence, but it surely’s additionally good to get some ends in the pocket beforehand,” Van Avermaet factors out.
“I’ve carried out there properly previously, plus it will get lots of media consideration as the primary large race of the yr.”
Somewhat than dreaming of a repeat of his epic 2017 season the place he dominated the cobbled Classics, Van Avermaet is taking intention at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
““That fits me rather well, too, as a result of it’s higher for me at this level in my profession to do a bit extra in these races. Afterwards at Flanders and Roubaix, the stronger guys are coming in,” he conceded.
Van Avermaet is in a contract yr and turns 38 on Could 17 after his performances within the Classics and so his potential for the ultimate a part of his profession can be evident.
Van Avermaet has no plans of retirement but and desires to proceed for 2 or three extra seasons. Contract negotiations with groups will play out in the summertime. In the mean time he’s wanting on the short-to-mid time period and is eager to reap the benefits of a strong winter of coaching.
“I did lots of coaching in Spain, that’s for certain, the traditional preparation. After the primary crew camp there I stayed there with the household over Christmas and New Yr, then it was again to camp once more in January, onto Bessèges and now right here.”
“I had a bit of little bit of bronchitis after the camp, however now I’m coming again into type. Hopefully I’ll keep wholesome and I’ll see the way it goes.”
The following two months will point out van Avermaet highway forward, for 2023 and past.
“Generally the Classics are a very powerful interval of the yr for me, and I nonetheless wish to do properly there,” he mentioned.
“Usually I’ll be on the Tour, it’s on the schedule, though final yr I used to be too,” – though he was lastly not chosen – “however you by no means know till the final second.”