Philippe Gilbert targeting Brabantse Pijl as part of Amstel Gold build up
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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Philippe Gilbert targeting Brabantse Pijl as part of Amstel Gold build up

by Ben Atkins at 12:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race, Brabantse Pijl
 
World champion aiming to match his super Ardennes spring of 2011

philippe gilbertPhilippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) is aiming for a repeat of his 2011 Brabantse Pijl victory on Wednesday as he builds towards his main spring targets in the Ardennes at the weekend. The World champion - who also finished second in the 2008 edition - won the race two years ago as the first victory in an unprecedented 12-day ‘Ardennes Quadruple’, which saw him take the Amstel Gold Race, la Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Still searching for his first victory in the rainbow jersey Gilbert took part in the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and was active on some stages, but withdrew as a precaution on the fifth day.

"The first stages were very hard," Gilbert explained. "But I was always there and trying just to follow. I made some good efforts."

Brabantse Pijl - or la Flèche Brabaçonne - bridges the Cobbled Classics, like the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, and those of the Ardennes, like Amstel and Liège, since it features several hills, and also some cobbled sections.

"I like Brabantse Pijl because it's technical and I can do a lot of efforts," said Gilbert. "I can go deep in this race and still recover in time for Amstel on Sunday."

Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race has a slightly changed finish from previous years, with the line moved almost two kilometres past the top of the Cauberg climb to the spot used in last year’s World championships. Gilbert has won on both courses, and his third place in the Dutch race was the best result of what was a disappointing spring for the then Belgian champion.

With the rainbow stripes around his middle, however, Gilbert is very motivated to repeat his spring of 2011.

“Philippe will be a well-protected leader with some good support riders around him; for example, Adam Blythe, Klaas Lodewyck and Yannick Eijssen,” said BMC Racing directeur sportif John Lelangue. “It will be a good last dress rehearsal before the big week of the Ardennes classics.”

BMC Racing Team for Brabantse Pijl
Adam Blythe, Yannick Eijssen, Philippe Gilbert, Martin Kohler, Klaas Lodewyck, Greg Van Avermaet, Danilo Wyss.

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