It has been 43 months since Greg Van Avermaet raised his arms in victory but the former Olympic champion in the final year of his career tacked one more win on his palmares in the Boucles de l’Aulne – Châteaulin.
Van Avermaet emerged as part of an 11-man leading group on the last of eight laps of a hilly 8.5 kilometre circuit in the UCI 1.1-ranked race. He powered to the victory ahead of compatriot Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Dstny) and Spaniard Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
It is the first win for the Belgian since the 2019 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.
Van Avermaet announced earlier this month that he planned to retire at the end of the season, ending a 17-year career that has seen him win the Olympic Games road race in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem in 2017, two stages of the Tour de France (2015, 2016) and the overall in Tirreno-Adriatico in 2016.
One of the top Classics riders of his generation, Van Avermaet has been eclipsed in recent years by younger stars like Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and more recently, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
However, he showed in Brittany that he’s not quite done winning. Having fallen ill after Tirreno-Adriatico and missing Milan-San Remo, Van Avermaet was off his game in the remaining Spring Classics.
A fourth place in the Tour du Finistère on Saturday presaged his good form. Van Avermaet’s win in the Boucles de l’Aulne is AG2R Citroën‘s fifth win of the season.
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