Gilbert ‘very motivated’ to begin racing in Tour of Qatar, says winter training went very well
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Gilbert ‘very motivated’ to begin racing in Tour of Qatar, says winter training went very well

by VeloNation Press at 2:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
Belgian believes he could return to his top form

Philippe GilbertHaving waited until now to start his 2014 season, Philippe Gilbert will get things underway tomorrow on stage one of the Tour of Qatar. The BMC Racing Team rider told Le Soir last month that he had a ‘perfect’ winter and that he believed he was on course for a strong season as a result.

“I will not be far from my level in 2011,” he stated then. “I had a real holiday after the season and almost shut myself off from the outside world. I have no worries, could train and am now a lot sharper, as with my best winters.”

In 2011 Gilbert had a staggering season, notching up 18 wins and dominating the UCI WorldTour ranking. The following two years were quieter, netting him three and one victories respectively.

Now, with the Tour of Qatar about to get underway – and with it his season – he has reiterated that things went well and he is ready.

“I had a good winter and I feel very motivated to start the new season,” he stated. “I worked hard and was really focused on what I did and what was most important, which was training and rest.”

The race is six stages long on flat roads, and includes a 10.9 kilometre time trial on day three. In addition to Gilbert, the team will feature Marcus Burghardt, Silvan Dillier, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet and Danilo Wyss.

Of those, Gilbert, Burghardt, Schär and Van Avermaet have all finished in the top ten overall; in addition to that, the latter is a stage winner, netting success in 2007.

The team’s directeur sportif Valerio Piva explained the roles that the riders will take, saying that Wyss and Gilbert will contest the sprints and that Dillier is also one who could perform well.

“I know if we have a windy race, we have a strong team,” he said. “For me, it is very important that we have good training for the Classics and see the team working together. We may not have a true sprinter, but if the race is in pieces after an attack, our guys are strong and motivated and we will try to make the difference as a team.”

BMC Racing Team for Tour of Qatar (Feb. 9-14):

Marcus Burghardt (GER), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).


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