BMC Racing Team blames tooth infection for Gilbert’s unstable form
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

BMC Racing Team blames tooth infection for Gilbert’s unstable form

by VeloNation Press at 6:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Injury
Belgian will compete in tomorrow’s Gent Wevelgem, worried about Flanders

Philippe GilbertPhilippe Gilbert's loss of strength and subsequent withdrawal from yesterday’s E3 Prijs Harelbeke race has been blamed on a tooth infection, according to his BMC Racing Team.

Team doctor Giovanni Ruffini has said that he has suffered from the issue for several weeks, and said that this was responsible for the rider essentially cracking in the race.

"It's drawn on his reserves and prevented him from eating well, which has resulted in a sudden weight loss," he stated. "This may explain his lack of energy."

The Belgian champion said prior to the event that he believed his form was on the rise and that he was ready to start performing well. However he was clearly not in good condition as the race progressed, and withdrew.

"I suddenly felt empty and had no more energy," he stated, adding that he started feeling bad at La Houppe, the second of the race's 13 climbs. He has told Sporza that he is concerned that his chances of winning the Ronde Van Vlaanderen will be affected.

Despite the issue, the team has said that Gilbert will remain part of the team for tomorrow’s Gent-Wevelgem Classic.

Ditto for Thor Hushovd, who also pulled out of yesterday’s race. He is rebuilding form after recent illness and rode well early on. Directeur sportif John Lelangue said that his form was on an upward curve, but that it didn’t want to put expectations on the 2006 race winner.

"Thor is improving each day," the Belgian stated. "Even though this race could suit him well, we won't put all the pressure on him."

The BMC Racing Team will feature two other past winners, namely US rider George Hincapie, who triumphed eleven years ago, and the German Marcus Burghardt, victory in 2007.

The lineup will be completed by Alessandro Ballan, Taylor Phinney, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet.

Ballan, who was eighth yesterday, will be the likely team leader, although Van Avermaet and Hushovd will also be protected riders for the 235.4 kilometer event.

BMC Racing Team for Gent-Wevelgem:

Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), George Hincapie (USA), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Taylor Phinney (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).


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