Gilbert ‘in super form,’ gets vote of confidence from team-mates prior to Milan Sanremo
  April 18, 2024 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gilbert ‘in super form,’ gets vote of confidence from team-mates prior to Milan Sanremo

by Conal Andrews at 9:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Two key riders on the Omega Pharma Lotto team, Mickael Delage and Jurgen Roelandts, have predicted a big performance from their team leader Philippe Gilbert on Saturday, saying that he is in ‘super form’ for Milan Sanremo.

"The whole team will ride for Phil, he is really in super form. I have no problem at all to put myself completely at his service," Roelandts said to “We will form a solid block because you could also see at Tirreno that Greg Van Avermaet is in form. The more that are [in top condition], the better it is.”

Delage was a team-mate of Gilbert at Française des Jeux and played a key role in setting him up for victory in the 2008 Paris-Tours. After Gilbert bridged up to a break he was in, the Frenchman went to the front and sacrificed himself, dragging the group along to dissuade attacks and to help stave off the peloton’s chase.

Gilbert brought him with him when he moved to the Silence Lotto team in 2009, and the two will once again compete alongside each other this season.

Delage knows him well and feels that he is in far better shape than last year, when he had to quit Paris-Nice early due to injury.

"Phil is really very good," said Delage. "He is in form, tranquil, serene, nothing like last year.”

Twelve months ago, he went to Milan-Sanremo without his best condition, but still rode solidly. "He did not panic," he remembers. "It takes a lot more for him to do that. But it's true, he was behind in his preparation. Despite all that, he responded and finished 23rd, I believe. This time, I am sure he will play a greater role in the final."

The three Omega Pharma Lotto riders competed in Paris-Nice rather than riding Tirreno-Adriatico, which is the more traditional preparation for Milan-Sanremo. It’s part of a longer-term view: this season, Gilbert is targeting races such as Liège-Bastogne-Lìege, and a programme including Paris-Nice is perceived as a better build-up.

As things turned out, Paris-Nice was extremely hard this year and gave them both a good workout plus six days of recovery.

Roelands will hope that this puts him into strong condition. He has a key role to play, and knows that he will have to be on form to do his duties right. “I am the last piece,” he said. “I am the rider who must accompany him to the Poggio.”

That means getting over the Cipressa in a good position, riding well on a climb that he is a little apprehensive about. "It is harder and longer than the Poggio," he said. “I’ll have to really push myself hard, but I am sure that I can pass the summit with the first part of the peloton. I'll then bring Philip in the best possible condition to the Poggio; after that, it will be up to him to manage things.”

Gilbert has a chance to complete a very impressive treble on Saturday. He won Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy at the end of last season, landing two Classic races as part of a superb four-race winning sequence. If he triumphs on Saturday he will take his third consecutive Classic, further confirming his status as one of the best one-day riders in recent history.


Subscribe via RSS or daily email

  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC