No Ronde van Vlaanderen for either Gilbert or Phinney
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

No Ronde van Vlaanderen for either Gilbert or Phinney

by VeloNation Press at 12:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Flanders, Injury
 
American rider focuses on Roubaix, Gilbert on Ardennes Classics

Philippe GilbertAlthough both riders had initially been scheduled to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen/Tour of Flanders this Sunday, the BMC Racing Team has announced that neither Philippe Gilbert nor Taylor Phinney will be on the start line this year.

The Belgian world champion and the gifted young American have both shown good form thus far this season, but slight setbacks mean that they will both miss this weekend’s Classic.

Gilbert is below par due to a cold he picked up in Paris-Nice, and doesn’t want to take any chances in advance of his first big target of the season. “With my current condition, I know I cannot be successful at Flanders. I want to give everything for the Ardennes Classics, so I have decided to change my program and go to Vuelta al Pais Vasco to prepare,” he said.

“I need a stage race where I can go hard on the climbs. It's always better for me to race than train because you can go much deeper in a race.”

Thus far, second on the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice is the closest he has got to a win, but he’ll hope to clock up a victory in the rainbow jersey in one or more of the Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

As for Phinney, he has an objective which comes earlier than that, and also wants to be at full fitness. He experienced pain above his right knee last Sunday in Gent Wevelgem and also doesn’t want to take any chances. He’s twice won the under 23 version of Paris-Roubaix and will now aim for the best possible performance in the pro edition.

Taylor Phinney “I'm confident if I stay at home in Italy and have a couple more days of recovery, I can be back 100 percent for Paris-Roubaix,” he explained. “I could probably push through the injury but I wouldn't be at my best. I would have to ride conservatively and that's not the right position I want to be in for the team.”

The Flanders team will be headed by Thor Hushovd and Greg Van Avermaet. Adam Blythe and Klaas Lodewyck replace Gilbert and Phinney and while they are not at the same level as the Belgian and the American, BMC Racing Team directeur sportif John Lelangue said that he believes the team can mount a very strong challenge.

“We still have a good team with guys like Thor Hushovd and Greg Van Avermaet, who are our main leaders,” he stated. “But we have also seen in E3-Harelbeke that Daniel Oss is very strong. And we have a good back-up team with Marcus Burghardt, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär and two teammates in Blythe and Lodewyck who were already prepared to race. So we are still confident that we will be there in the final.”

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