Philippe Gilbert: “When you are successful, then everyone is your friend”
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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Philippe Gilbert: “When you are successful, then everyone is your friend”

by Ben Atkins at 3:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
World champion launches new “rainbow season” book; speaks of criticism in tough early season

philippe gilbertPhilippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) has produced a new book, along with Le Soir journalist Stéphane Thirion, about his 2012 season. Entitled ‘Ma saison arc-en-ciel’ (My rainbow season), it comes as a sequel to ‘Mon année de rêve’, which was released at the end of his incredible 2011 season, and takes the World champion through his disappointing spring campaign, up to his gold medal winning ride in Limburg, Netherlands, in September.

“The rainbow season title is the perfect summary of my year,” Gilbert told Sporza. “I’ve seen all the colours of the rainbow, because my year evolved from darkness into gold.”

Having been almost unbeatable in the spring of 2011, following victory in the Strade Bianche with an “Ardennes Quadruple” of the Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Gilbert’s 2012 season was a long way short. A solitary podium place in Flèche Wallonne saw him much criticised by the Belgian media, even though he never lost faith in himself.

“That I was criticised sometimes - ‘part of the game’ - was hard for my family, friends and fans, because they were sometimes really angry,” he said. “But I always remained positive myself, and I kept hoping for better days. As a sportsman you know that is sometimes good, and sometimes very bad.

“I’ve learned that, when you are successful, then everyone is your friend,” he added. “You are invited everywhere, and everyone wants to have you in his television broadcast. But if it’s not working, you only hear criticism. This has led to choices in my surroundings, and the people I work with.”

It was the success of the previous year - which saw him challenging for victory in il Lombardia in mid-October - that put him behind this year, he thinks, but steadily his form came back in time for the World championships.

“In early 2012 I just paid the bill for a long, hard, stressful 2011,” he explained. “That’s cost me four months of my season. Now I’m doing well again; I have a good feeling after the season. The feeling has slowly been coming back.”

As well as his book launch, Gilbert was happy to announce that his partner, Patricia Zeevaert, is due to give birth to their second child in June 2013. Countback from the estimated due date indicates that the new arrival could well be a “rainbow baby”.

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