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VILT, Netherlands (VN) – Greg Van Avermaet carried the hopes of BMC Racing into the Amstel Gold Race Sunday. American Jeff Louder said before the start that his 25-year-old teammate was among “the guys that can” be there in the end on the Cauberg climb to the finish above Valkenberg.
“It’s an intense race,” Louder told VeloNews before the start in Maastricht. “It’s a race of attrition. Even though it’s intense all day, guys like Greg have the endurance and stamina.”
With almost constant turns over three overlapping circuits, the youngest spring classic is also the most stressful for riders.
Louder returned to racing Wednesday at De Brabantse Pijl after missing Vuelta a Pais Vasco with flu and bronchitis. A training camp in Italy with assistant director Max Sciandri carried Louder into the Ardennes classics where he will work to earn BMC its second win in the hilly classics after Cadel Evans’ victory – in rainbow stripes – at La Flèche Wallonne in 2010.
“(Van Avermaet’s) surrounded by guys like (Manual) Quinziato and Ivan Santaromita and just the whole team is in waves keeping him out of trouble and looking after him,” said Louder. “Usually a lot of the race is selective from behind. At the end when you do the Eyserbosweg, the Keutenberg and the Cauberg, it’s up to him to do it at that point.
“It’s just guys that can and the guys that can’t and we think Greg can.”