Greg Van Avermaet retires without Tour of Flanders, but with an Olympic gold medal and whole lot more

Van Avermaet butted heads against Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen, and delivered the Olympic Gold medal in 2016.

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Greg Van Avermaet puts an end to his career after the Belgian classics specialist could never quite fulfill his dream of winning the Tour of Flanders.

The 37-year-old won plenty more across his career, including Paris-Roubaix and the ever elusive Olympic Games gold medal in the elite men’s road race.

That Olympic success shot Van Avermaet into celebrity status in Belgium, but his quest to win Flanders fell short for one reason or another.

Van Avermaet confirmed his retirement at the end of this season and said he’s more than satisfied with his racing career that started in 2006.

“A great adventure is ending and I’m a little sad,” Van Avermaet said Wednesday. “This decision was very difficult to make, but when I look in the rearview mirror, I am extremely proud of my achievements.”

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During his 18-year career, “GVA” won some of cycling’s biggest races with his mix of speed and endurance, including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Saxo Classic (Harelbeke), Gent-Wevelgem, and Paris-Roubaix in his near-perfect run across the northern classics in 2017.

Second that year at his beloved Tour of Flanders behind Philippe Gilbert was another close call in the race where he finished on the podium four times, but never won.

Van Avermaet boasts 41 victories on his quality palmarès, and he won stages at the Vuelta a España and Tour de France, where he also wore the yellow jersey. He raced for such teams as Lotto-Soudal, BMC Racing, and Team CCC before joining Ag2r-Citroën in 2021.

After posting a string of sub-par results this spring and struggling with illness and poor form the past few seasons, Van Avermaet said the time is right to leave the sport. His last victory came in the 2019 GP de Montréal.

“I gave the best of myself every day, simply so I would have no regrets,” he said. “Not only did I enjoy my victories, but also the path leading up to them.”

Van Avermaet said he plans to spend more time with his family, and will finish out his third season with Ag2r-Citroën intent on trying to win one more race. Van Avermaet has yet to define what his final race will be.

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