Gilbert: I can’t be at one hundred percent here and in Liège
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gilbert: I can’t be at one hundred percent here and in Liège

by Shane Stokes at 12:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
World champion believes he’s in good enough shape to win

Philippe GilbertWorld champion Philippe Gilbert has said that riders wanting to win Milan-Sanremo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège need to make a choice about which of the two races to peak for, suggesting that it is impossible to be in top condition for both of the events.

The Belgian spoke about the subject in yesterday’s BMC Racing Team press conference, saying that he had to make a decision to be a little off optimal form in today’s Classic so that he has the best possible chance of winning in Liège on April 21st.

However Gilbert maintained that he could still contend for victory in both events. “I am good but I still have some kilos to lose for Liège. But I know if I am already very skinny now, I cannot still be very skinny in Liège,” he explained. “I have to play with this also.”

Asked if he could rate as to how close to top form he is, he tried to do so. “It is hard to say a number, maybe 85 or 90 [percent]…it is very hard to say,” he said.

However because of the tactical nature of the race, he said that it’s still possible to hit the line first. “I am not sure if you are at 100 percent of your capacity that you are sure to win,” he explained. “But I am sure if you are at 100 percent of your capacity in Liege, you are sure to win. That is the difference…”

Skill demands of riding Milan – Sanremo in the wet:

Speaking about the expected poor weather conditions – which indeed transpired – he said that wet, cold conditions would reshape the race.

“This will mean also that you win the race also on the descent and not [just] in the climb. It is very slippery, technical. We saw it last time when Freire crashed there on the descent of La Manie.

“I think it will be the same. There are a lot of corners. The first riders go fast in the corners and behind they have to take risks and they crash. If it is wet, then for sure the race will be shaped on the descents.”

Although he fell in Il Lombardia and had to withdraw, he said that he wasn’t too apprehensive. “I have no problem with cold or raining weather. I don’t like it, but for me it is okay - I can go hard and fast in bad weather, I have no problem with that. You just don’t enjoy it the same.”

In that light, in terms of keeping warm, being a couple of kilos off his optimal race weight may be a good thing after all.


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