Gilbert plays down suggestions he is the main favourite for Milan-Sanremo
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gilbert plays down suggestions he is the main favourite for Milan-Sanremo

by VeloNation Press at 1:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo
BMC Racing Team rider says others must be considered before him

Philippe GilbertAlthough he finished second on the final stage of Paris-Nice and went close to taking his first win as the world road race champion, Philippe Gilbert has to sought to dampen down expectations that he must be considered a top contender for Milan – Sanremo.

The Belgian rider accepts that he is in good shape, far better than last year, but states that his rivals need to worry about others sooner than they do about him.

“I will automatically be amongst favourites for Milan-Sanremo,” he admitted to RTBF, “but I will not be THE favourite. I have a good level but I have not yet won, nor made an exploit [such as a strong long range attack – ed]. I think there are other riders to nominate before me.”

Gilbert doesn’t name those riders but many have said that Peter Sagan (Cannondale) is one to watch, and so too Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) plus Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who were fourth, second and third respectively last year.

Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge), the rider who won a three man sprint to win the Classic, does not appear to be in the same form this year and has played down his chances for Sunday’s race.

Gilbert is in the special position of being the sole rider in the peloton who has the chance this year to win Milan Sanremo in the rainbow jersey. That is a feat that has been achieved on very few occasions in the past, and he’ll undoubtedly give his all to pull off what would be a real coup.

The BMC Racing Team rider states that things have turned around well for him lately. “I started Paris-Nice sick so it was not ideal. Fortunately, I am healed. I can now breathe 100% and it makes a big difference,” he said after the race. “I have a good workload behind me with two nice stage races at the Tour Down Under and Oman. And now, Paris-Nice ends well. This is extremely important.”

He added that riders face ever increasing pressure to be in good condition. “It is necessary to race a lot and to train very, very hard,” he said. “It becomes more difficult each year to be at a high level and win the great races."

Gilbert will be joined by former world champion Thor Hushovd on the team. The Norwegian showed solid shape in Tirreno-Adriatico and finished in the chasing group on the tough penultimate stage.


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