Tour de Yorkshire: Van Avermaet dedicates win to BMC team owner

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet secured overall victory in the Tour de Yorkshire after Frenchman Stephane Rossetto took a brilliant solo win on stage four into Leeds.

CATCH THE LEADER: Greg Van Arvermaet comes in to the finish in Leeds to win the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Cofidis’ Rossetto attacked from the breakaway on the punishing climb of Park Rash and stayed clear for over 110 arduous kilometres of the 189.5km stage from Halifax, which took the riders through the Yorkshire Dales.

Behind, Belgian Van Avermaet of BMC led the chase group over the line to take the general classification as the overnight leader Magnus Cort Nielsen of Astana lost contact with the peloton.

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Rossetto had approached Park Rash alongside Canyon-Eisberg’s Max Stedman, but he left the 22-year-old Briton in his wake midway up the 2.2km long climb, which averages 10.5 per cent.

Competitors ride through Haworth during day four of the Tour de Yorkshire from Halifax to Leeds. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

With two more categorised climbs ahead of him, plus an intermediate sprint at the top of a climb which might have been categorised on any other day, few would have given Rossetto much hope.

A lead which had at one point been over six minutes tumbled in the final kilometres but he had enough left to take victory on the day by 34 seconds.

Van Avermaet dedicated his overall victory to the late Andy Rihs, the BMC team owner who died at the age of 75 last month.

“I think we all had it in mind to win a race for him,” he said. “Tomorrow is his funeral. He was a big boss for us, a big supporter for many years at BMC. The work the team did was incredible and we all had him in mind and it was really great I could finish it off.

WINNER: Greg Van Avermaet. Picture Tony Johnson.

“Thank you to Andy, thank you to the team. It’s so great I can win this and it’s great I can have Yorkshire on my palmares.”