Impending birth of second child sees Gilbert leave Tour of California
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Impending birth of second child sees Gilbert leave Tour of California

by VeloNation Press at 11:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
Van Garderen down a rider as a result, but Belgian believes he’ll win anyway

Philippe GilbertPhilippe Gilbert made an unexpected withdrawal from the Tour of California today, opting not to start the fourth stage after learning that he will soon become a father again.

“My wife is going to have our baby sooner than the delivery date,” he confirmed, explaining the reason for his departure. “So it's an exciting reason and very important for me to be there.”

The world road race champion lined out in what was his first-ever US event on Sunday hoping to clock up his first win since taking the rainbow jersey last autumn. However his race was largely fruitless in that regard, with placings of 56th, 30th and 46th in the first three days. On the second of those, Monday’s summit finish, he rode in the services of team leader Tejay van Garderen before slipping back on the climb at Palm Springs.

He accepted that his form wasn’t as good as he hoped, but insisted that he enjoyed his time in the race. “I always have problem with the jet lag and differences of temperature but it was a nice race. The roads were nice – different than Europe of course, with very big roads – and the organization was fine,” he said.

His departure means that van Garderen – who sits second overall with the time trial and the Mount Diablo stage come up – is a rider down, but he doesn’t consider this as damaging to his chances. “It's a little bit sad to leave because I think Tejay is going to win this race,” he said.

Gilbert will return to Europe, attend the birth of his second child and then knuckle down to building form in advance of the Tour de France.

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