Gilbert to miss Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gilbert to miss Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

by Conal Andrews at 4:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 

Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert is staking all his cards on one race this weekend, riding Omloop Het Nieuwsblad but missing Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

He and his Omega Pharma Lotto team have decided not to push too hard at this time of the year, particularly as Gilbert’s big objectives aren’t taking place for a few weeks yet.

Team directeur Marc Sargeant is convinced this is the right strategy, and feels positive about the team’s chances.

“As I see it, our present level is high,” he stated. “In my opinion, we present a very strong team for the opening weekend in Belgium; for the Omloop, Philippe Gilbert [will be] leading, assisted by Greg Van Avermaet - who is not too well, but the medic says he will be all right - Leif Hoste and Jürgen Roelandts, backed by Michiel Elijzen, Sebastian Lang, Michael Delage and Staf Scheirlinckx. I have no doubt that they are ready.

“It will be the same team for Kuurne - Brussels - Kuurne, except that Gilbert will be replaced by Gerben Löwik. Philippe is repeating last year's early season and will stay for a long time at a high level, up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and so we shall keep him from riding on Sunday in order to avoid his reaching his peak too early.”

Gilbert’s stunning end of season has proved that he is one of the top Classic riders in the world. He won two editions of Het Volk, which last year was renamed Het Nieuwsblad, and has a chance on Saturday to equal the record of three victories, as held by Ernest Sterckx, Josephe Bruyere and Peter Van Petegem.

He has named Liège-Bastogne-Liège as probably his biggest target this spring.

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