Gilbert: still hungry to win and feeling strong
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gilbert: still hungry to win and feeling strong

by VeloNation Press at 2:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian ready for another big year

Philippe GilbertThe 2011 UCI WorldTour winner Philippe Gilbert has come off the best Classic season anyone has had in recent years but any hopes his rivals may have of complacency appeal to be in vain. The BMC Racing Team rider has promised to attack his targets this year with hunger and ambition, saying that he has worked hard over the winter and is determined to fight for more results.

“I'm proud of my record from last season but that is in the past. I’ll be at the start of Milan-Sanremo like I haven’t won a Classic yet,” he told Sporza.

“I’m not satisfied. I didn’t let myself go during the winter. There is no reason why I would perform less well.” That said, he believes it’s not simply the case of turning up at the start line with good legs. “Whether I will win depends on the circumstances. The more you win, the harder it becomes,” he said. “If I attack, everyone responds immediately.”

However that was also the case last season, with the peloton realising very quickly that he was in superb form. He had the explosiveness to create gaps and if he has the same form as before, there’s little doubt that the results will come.

“I have an advantage in that I can peak for a long time. Between Milan-Sanremo and Liège there is just a month and a half. I also know perfectly well how I should distribute my efforts,” he said, speaking of advantages.

The 29 year old racked up a staggering list of victories in 2011, including a stage in the Tour de France (where he also wore the yellow jersey), the Montepaschi Strade Bianche, Flèche Brabançonne, the treble of Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, as well as the Belgian time trial and road race championships, the Tour of Belgium, the San Sebastian Classic, the Grand Prix of Québec, the Grand Prix de Wallonie and the Ster ZLM Toer.

He also hoovered up stage wins in the Volta ao Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Belgium, the Ster ZLM Toer and the Eneco Tour of Benelux.

He’s got his season underway in the Tour of Qatar and while he is yet to figure in the results, he won’t be panicking. Last year he had a quiet showing in the Challenge Mallorca events, then started the ball rolling with a stage win in the Volta ao Algarve.

2012 will have a slightly different slant to it as he will be riding for another in July, rather than being the leader of his squad. Having moved to the BMC Racing Team, he will be competing alongside Cadel Evans, the defending Tour de France champion. While he’ll still hope to pick up a stage win in that race, he has made it clear that his main role will be to help the Australian try to take another yellow jersey in Paris.

He’s decided what he will do to be in the best possible shape for July. “I will prepare for the Tour in the Dauphine. I want to climb in the mountains to build up kilometres to help Cadel Evans,” he said.

After that, his goals will be to chase victories in the Olympic Games and the world road race championship, two titles which he’s yet to put on his palmares. Of those, he believes the parcours of the worlds suits him better, thus giving him a better chance of pulling off a huge win.


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