Belgian van Avermaet claims overall Tour de Yorkshire win

Belgian van Avermaet claims overall Tour de Yorkshire win

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Reigning Olympic road race champion Greg van Avermaet claimed the Tour de Yorkshire overall victory on a stunning day on and off the roads.

As the crowds basked in beautiful bank holiday sunshine and lined the streets in their thousands, they witnessed the Belgian cross the line in second behind Stephane Rossetto on day four to claim the blue jersey and seal an overall victory.

The 32-year-old started the day ten seconds behind Magnus Cort Nielsen but eventually secured the triumph by nine seconds ahead of Spaniard Eduard Prades.

Defending Tour de Yorkshire champion Serge Pauwels finished third, with Ian Bibby the pick of the British racers as he rolled home in sixth, 23 seconds off the lead.

Frenchman Rossetto’s sensational effort will live long in the memory – he attacked valiantly from early in the race, with a full 120km left in the stage, and stayed clear of the field right up until he crossed the line first in Headrow, Leeds.

For van Avermaet, the win meant even more to him and his BMC teammates after the recent death of former team owner Andy Rihs.

“It was a victory for Andy – we wanted to win the race for him, tomorrow is his funeral and he was a big boss for us, a supporter of the BMC team for many years,” said the Belgian.

“The way he built the team was amazing and we had him in our minds – it was great I could finish it off. Thank you to the team and I’m so happy I won.

“I’m happy that I have Yorkshire on my palmares.

“Everything went well, we did enough work at the back luckily Magnus [Cort Neilsen] could not follow and it was open to us to take another bonus second and take another on the stage and it was enough to win overall.”

Van Avermaet’s win marked the end of a pulsating four days of racing in Yorkshire, which began in Beverley on Thursday and attracted more than two million spectators.

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