Van Avermaet (33) clinched the Yellow last Monday, when he won the team time trial. The man from Zogge (Hamme) managed to retain the precious Yellow day after day, surviving some tough stages and steep climbs in Brittany. His dream to keep it until the cibble stone stage to Roubaix became true, but there was one more thing: he dreamed of winning this 'mini Paris-Roubaix' in the Tour de France in the Yellow.
Breaking away from the peloton with John Degenkolb and Lampaert, Van Avermaet was more than half way to meet this challenge, but Degenkolb was too strong at the finish, outsprinting his Belgian rivals despite having had to start the sprint from the front position. Another Belgian, Philippe Gilbert, was 19 seconds behind to take fourth place before Peter Sagan.
Van Avermaet's challenge has been completed now: he will have Monday's day of rest in the Yellow, but is bound to lose it on Tuesday, when the riders will be attacking the mountains in the Alps. Degenkolb was extremely delighted with his win, his first big victory after a long injury-marred spell triggered by a horrific accident.