Philippe Gilbert believes he can win Paris-Roubaix
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Philippe Gilbert believes he can win Paris-Roubaix

by Xylon van Eyck at 5:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Roubaix
Says it will be hard to emulate his successful year

Philippe GilbertThe 2011 WorldTour winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) believes he can win Paris-Roubaix as he prepares to take on next season with his new team. The Belgian this year made a clean sweep of the Ardennes classic when he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne and Amstel Gold Race and went on to be the most successful rider in the pro peloton, taking a total of eighteen wins.

He’s been the most impressive rider in the peloton this year but admitted to Eurosport it would be very hard to repeat the season he had, which also included a Tour de France stage win.

"It's been a fantastic year, which will be difficult to imitate,” he said. “It's a huge challenge, but I am not really going to change my preparations. I can also be like Fabian Cancellara, who won plenty of big races in 2010 but in 2011 it's just been too many podiums but few victories,” Gilbert said.

The Belgian will move to BMC Racing team and join another high profile signing in Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo). It is widely known that Paris-Roubaix is on Hushovd’s wish list but is yet to be determined whether Gilbert will line up alongside the former world champion at next year’s race. It’s definitely on his ‘to do’ list, but the question is when that will take place.

"I think I can win Paris-Roubaix. But then everything has to go my way, and accidents can play a very big role. It's annoying to lose just because of a puncture, although that's a natural part of Paris-Roubaix. But I will definitely line up at the start someday, and I am quite sure I will have a good chance", says Gilbert.

It’s no surprise that Gilbert was a wanted man after Lotto and Omega Pharma announced they would go their separate ways; it was eventually BMC who won the race for his signature. The team is owned by the wealthy Andy Rihs but Gilbert says money wasn’t the only decider in his reason for choosing the team.

"It was primarily a sporting decision. But BMC is obviously also a team that can afford to pay me. And I got assurances that I got a strong team behind me. Also guarantees that ensure that riders who help me get a decent salary. It is also important to me."

Gilbert also highlighted the fact that although the team has made considerable additions to its roster, it has to approach every race with humility, not expecting to win every race.

When asked if he could win one race next year he said, "[The] World Championship. Being able to ride a full year in the rainbow-coloured jersey is something special. So if I could have a dream, then it would be this."


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