Gilbert to lead Belgium in World Championships
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gilbert to lead Belgium in World Championships

by Ben Atkins at 11:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
The Belgian team will be led by Philippe Gilbert, national coach Carlo Bomans announced on Monday. Gilbert would be their main hope, explained Bomans, because he believed that the route for the road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland, would be too tough for 2005 world champion Tom Boonen.

"There will be just one team leader at the start, the other riders will be there to help him," said Bomans.

"The course is both tiring and very short [at 13.8 kilometres]” he explained. "The two climbs come very quickly for the riders who will have barely been able to recover. Thus recuperating in between them will pose certain problems. Gilbert has a strong card to play in this respect, where his explosivity can pay off."

While Bomans feared for Boonen's prospects in the race, he didn't totally rule out the sprint specialist, and three-time winner of Paris-Roubaix still having a hand in the finish. "I fear that the course will be too tough for Tom," he said, "but if that is not the case he could hide inside the peloton before striking when no one expects it."

A surprise omission from the list of eight is Belgian time trial champion, and winner of the biggest race in Belgium – the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) – for the previous two years: Stijn Devolder. Currently riding the Vuelta a España, Devolder must wait until after Wednesday’s Grand Prix of Wallonia when the ninth rider will be announced. The other names in contention for that place are: Dries Devenyns, Bert De Waele, Serge Pauwels, Johan Vansummeren and Jurgen Van den broeck

Provisonal eight-man team:
Philippe Gilbert (Silence)
Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
Francis De Greef (Silence)
Kevin De Weert (Quick Step)
Maxime Monfort (Columbia)
Nick Nuyens (Rabobank)
Greg Van Avermaet (Silence)
Maarten Wynants (Quick Step)
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