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"I had the legs to win, I think. I was feeling really good the whole day. I tried to make the race hard and when they went, there were were still some teams to control the race, so I didn't have to go."

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - PERI

GREG VAN AVERMAET

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RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN

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NEWS
05.04.2015 @ 19:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet finished third at Ronde van Vlaanderen Sunday after a formidable chase of a leading pair with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the last 13 kilometers of the 264.2-km race.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Team) out-sprinted Nikki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) to take the win. Van Avermaet, runner-up in this race a year ago, crossed the line seven seconds later after attacking Sagan in the final 500 meters.

"In the end, I am happy I am on the podium," Van Avermaet said. "I had the legs to win, I think. I was feeling really good the whole day. I tried to make the race hard and when they went, there were were still some teams to control the race, so I didn't have to go. In the end, we didn't see them back anymore."

Kristoff and Terpstra made their move inside the last 30 kilometers and rapidly gained 25 seconds. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said the team changed tactics by looking to other squads to take up the chase.

"We waited a lot," Piva said. "Everybody in the past was thinking that we would close the gap. Today, we did not move until the final. All the time, we had four or five guys in the front group. We controlled the race and waited until the attack from Greg. We did our race. We didn't win, but we were still fighting for the victory."

Inside the last 15 kilometers and the last time up the Paterberg, Van Avermaet attacked a small chase group that included his teammate, Daniel Oss. Joined on the descent by Sagan, the two pursued the leading pair as the time gap went down to 15 seconds with 12 km to go, then back up to 26 seconds with 5 km left.

"I was just hoping they would wait for me a little bit because Kristoff is so much faster than Terpstra in the sprint and last year they didn't want to ride with me when I was with Stijn Vanderdenbergh," Van Avermaet said. "So I was hoping today I could come back. But I couldn't make it anymore."

Van Avermaet's podium finish was his sixth of the season. Winner of Stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico, he was runner-up at Strade Bianche and has finished third three other times: Stage 2 at both the Tour of Qatar and Tour Oman and in the prologue at Tirreno-Adriatico.

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