Greg Van Avermaet erases a nearly four-year drought with Boucles de l'Aulne victory

 Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen)
Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen)

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 onto 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).

Scroll to continue with content

It is the first win for the Belgian since the 2019 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.

Read more

Greg Van Avermaet announces retirement at end of 2023 season

Greg Van Avermaet to decide on racing future after Classics season

Peter Sagan retiring from WorldTour at end of season, targets MTB at Paris Olympics

"I am very happy. Pretty emotional, actually," Van Avermaet said. "Winning is a really special feeling and it's been a long time since I’ve won. That's what we all aim to do when we start a race.

"These last few years have not been easy, but I have always remained motivated. I'm very happy to take a victory for the first time in the AG2R Citroën Team jersey; it's a great way to thank the team. I have a few races left before the end of my career and I still want to get results. This gives me confidence.


"The rounds of the Coupe de France are not easy races to read, but today we managed perfectly with the team. Bastien (Tronchon) was in the break for a long time. In the final sprint, Clément (Venturini) attacked very hard and that put everyone on edge, that was perfect for me.

"On a finish like this, which is a bit punchy, I can still do great things."

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.

"Next week, I will race the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. There are two finishes that may suit me. We'll see how it goes. Now I want to enjoy this successful weekend," Van Avermaet concluded.

Results powered by FirstCycling