Greg van Avermaet: Olympic road race champion added to Tour de Yorkshire field

Greg van Avermaet competing in Oman

Greg van Avermaet’s best stage finish at the Tour de Yorkshire was second in the final stage into Leeds in 2015

Olympic road race champion Greg van Avermaet will make his Tour de Yorkshire return in May.

The 32-year-old finished seventh in his only previous appearance in the four-day race in 2015, which was the inaugural staging of the event.

Van Avermaet, a winner of two Tour de France stages, will lead the BMC Racing Team contingent in Yorkshire this year.

Last year, the Belgian beat Team Sky’s Chris Froome to top the end-of-year UCI WorldTour rankings.

Among Van Avermaet’s successes in 2017 was winning the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic for the first time.

The Rio 2016 gold medallist’s addition to the Tour de Yorkshire field follows confirmation that Mark Cavendish will make his return from injury at the event.

The race, which is a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart hosted by Yorkshire, takes place from 3-6 May.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, who also helped take the Tour de France to the county, said Van Avermaet “will no doubt animate the four days of racing”.

The race starts on Thursday, 3 May with a stage from Beverley to Doncaster, and Friday’s second stage takes the riders from Barnsley to Ilkley.

Saturday’s third stage is from Richmond to Scarborough with the finale on Sunday, 6 May starting in Halifax and finishing in Leeds, where Van Avermaet finished second in his last stage appearance in 2015.

“The final stage should certainly suit him and I look forward to seeing him in action,” said Verity.

A two-day women’s race will take place on 3-4 May, preceding the men’s race and starting and finishing in the same towns.

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