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"Philippe Gilbert is just a teammate . He is not my best friend, but I do not hate him. I have a lot of respect for Gilbert. But at a certain moment I felt that I was blocked by him at Lotto."

Photo: Tim De Waele/TDW Sport


04.01.2016 @ 12:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) is preparing for the 2016 season which he hopes will allow him to finally take a big classics win. Sporza's Christophe Vandegoor went for coffee and had a long conversation with the classics star based on four of his favourite songs.


Van Avermaet chose to base the conversation on the following songs:


We Will Rock You (Queen)

Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)
God Is a DJ (Faithless)
Hotel California (The Eagles)


We Will Rock You

"I could not imagine a better family to grow up in. I got everything I wanted, my parents took me everywhere. At the family parties, we always danced to the classics. 'We Will Rock You' was one of them.


"But actually I have no special relationship with music. In training I prefer to listen to nature. I have attended a music school, but beyond the first year I have not touched my saxophone.


"I have always loved sport. I always played soccer with my friends on the field behind our house. That was a good time. We returned from school and played outside until it got dark.


"When I was twelve, I was in the national selection of Beveren. Why I opted for soccer? Because my father did not want me to race too early.


"15 years was the ideal age to begin racing. It was not easy to make all the sacrifices that I had done for my soccer to get a cycling career.


"But I'm pleased with how things turned out. Cycling is more of an individual sport in which you can prove yourself. Football is more of a team sport."


Seven Nation Army

"Seven Nation Army is really one for the rollers while you are warming up for a time trial. And in the team bus we often listen to such a classic song to create some team spirit. It is a good number to prepare you for the Tour of Flanders.


"I like to be in nature. To hike in the Alps and Norway and to enjoy nature in combination with sports. After my career I want to do mountain biking and participate in the Crocodile Trophy.


"I like to follow my plan. I'm not really a sociable person. If the group is too big, I do not feel good. It is difficult to have a good conversation.


"My best mate at BMC is Michael Schär.  He is very open and makes a lot of noise, the opposite of me.


"Schär knows a lot about building so lately we have often chatted about architecture. But we also speak refgularly about cars, Vespas, women and coffee machines ..."



"In the team I'm also the man who always tries to find a good coffee shop when we sit somewhere in the hotel.


"Schär always brings his espresso machine to cycling races and then makes coffee for me.


"You always have to focus on your own strength. It's better for you not to listen to anyone because everyone has a different opinion. Some people send me messages about how to approach a race. But I am not interested.


"I have to maintain my own style. And that is to waste a lot of power and ride with with my nose in the wind.


"As José De Cauwer says I am an eager rider. In 2009, I tried not to waste so much strength and ride more for results. But that just did not work. So I usually rode in the peloton.


"Honesty and to stand up for yourself are the most important values ​​with which I was raised. You have to follow your own will and not accept any kind of pressure from the group.


God Is a DJ

"So far my life has been a dream that I have managed to realize. I have my own home and a wonderful family. I don't need to do crazy things and drive a Ferrari.


"God Is a DJ has a good rhythm. But I don't think that there's a God in the peloton. For me it is not difficult to keep my feet on the ground.


"If I perform well, I stay calm and I'm even a bit shy. That's my way of celebrating. To enjoy it myself. I do not need to behave like a fool if I win.


"Philippe Gilbert is just a teammate . He is not my best friend, but I do not hate him. I have a lot of respect for Gilbert. But at a certain moment I felt that I was blocked by him at Lotto.


"At BMC we are again together in a team. In the beginning, Phil was sometimes more a rival than my teammate. I had to work hard to be in the position where I am now.


"I still hope for a big win and I am firmly convinced that it will come. I just need a little more patience than other riders."


Hotel California

"That case (Van Avermaet was accused of having undergone ozone therapy, ed.) was one of the most difficult periods of my life. I never expected that I would ever have to prove my innocence .


"On the day of the acquittal, a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. But it was not a nice situation.


"I can tolerate a lot, but to be accused of doping.


"I had never expected that. A two-year suspension hits a person incredibly hard.


"My father told me never to use doping. I hope people will later remember me as a quiet man who was a beast on the bike."



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