Gilbert concerned about effects of jet lag for Tour of Belgium, but motivated by final stage
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Gilbert concerned about effects of jet lag for Tour of Belgium, but motivated by final stage

by VeloNation Press at 2:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Belgium
 
Van Avermaet back in action and hunting stages

Philippe gilbertAlthough Philippe Gilbert has been back in Europe for several days after withdrawing from the Tour of California last Wednesday, the BMC Racing Team rider has said that he is concerned that his performances in this week’s Tour of Belgium could still be affected by that trip.

The Belgian rider quit the American race early to be present at the birth of his second son, Alexandre, who was born last Friday.

“It will be hard to recover from the jet lag before the start because I always have problems with jet lag,” he said, articulating his concerns. “I hope to be able to follow in the first stages, but it will depend on the wind and the weather forecast, of course.”

However he seems to believe that he can come good for the end of the race, which will conclude next Sunday. “I'm looking forward to doing something on the last stage because it passes right through my village, so I know the roads well.”

Aside from racing on home ground, Gilbert can draw on the birth of his son if he is seeking additional motivation. However perhaps the biggest reason for him to try to clock up a win is so that he can take his first victory in the rainbow jersey of world champion. He won that title last September and has not yet succeeded in returning to the top step of the podium.

The Tour of Belgium offers him an opportunity to do that, and is also an intended hunting ground for Gilbert’s compatriot and team-mate, Greg Van Avermaet.

He has been very consistent this year with no less than eight finishes in the top ten but, like Gilbert, is yet to take a win.

He’s sounding optimistic as he awaits the start of the race. “The Tour of Belgium is a nice race for me, especially this year because there are some stages with suit me. One is on the old parcours of the Tour of Flanders with some climbs on the Mur and the old finish in Meerbeke,” he said.

“There are also two stages in the Ardennes. I hope to go for a stage win and a good general classification because I will not lose too much time in the time trial.”

The duo will lead the team in the event. They will be backed by the national road race champions of Switzerland and Denmark, respectively, Martin Kohler and Sebastian Lander. Also on the squad will be Marcus Burghardt, Dominik Nerz (Germany), Manuel Quinziato and Larry Warbasse.

Gilbert won the Tour of Belgium in 2011 ahead of Van Avermaet. The latter was also runner-up in 2008.

BMC Racing Team for Tour of Belgium (May 22-26):

Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Dominik Nerz (GER), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Larry Warbasse (USA).

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