Gilbert to miss Tour de France, Boonen opts for Tour de Suisse over Dauphiné Libéré
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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gilbert to miss Tour de France, Boonen opts for Tour de Suisse over Dauphiné Libéré

by Conal Andrews at 6:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, Spring Classics, Tour of Belgium, World Championships
 

Fatigued after a long and successful Classics season which saw him reach his goal of becoming world number one, Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert is sticking by his original plan to give the Tour de France a miss this year. The Omega Pharma – Lotto rider plans to rest in the coming weeks, recharging his batteries prior to another big push towards the Vuelta a España and world road race championships.

“I don’t know what Philippe could aim for there,” said his directeur sportif Dirk De Wolf to Het Nieuwsblad. “Proof that he can ride the Tour? He has already done enough. For his type of rider, there is little to gain from the Tour. He can better use this period to prepare for the autumn, where he has a much better chance for a big win.”

Gilbet had aimed for a strong ride in the Tour de Romandie but, as his non-finish showed, the long season had started to catch up with him. He’s been on form for many weeks, netting ninth in Milan-Sanremo, third in Gent Wevelgem, second on a stage of the Three Days of De Panne, third in the Tour of Flanders, fifth in Brabantse Pijl, first in the Amstel Gold race, sixth in Flèche Wallonne and fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That’s a remarkable run of results, but also a fatiguing one; time for a rest.

Gilbert will next ride a criterium on Tuesday, but his real return to racing will be in the Tour of Belgium on May 26th.

He has said that this year’s world championship course could play to his strengths, believing that the course is tough enough to see off sprinters such as Mark Cavendish. Riding the Vuelta is the best preparation for that and so, after such a busy early season, an easier period in July could play to his advantages.

Meanwhile compatriot Tom Boonen has decided to ride the Tour de Suisse as part of his preparation for this year’s Tour de France, believing that it syncs better with his schedule.

“The date is a bigger reason than the parcours,” said Quick Step team manager Wilfried Peeters. “The later start in Switzerland suits Tom better, especially if you have to recover from jet lag after returning from California.”

Either the Tour de Suisse or the Dauphiné Libéré are used by the majority of the Tour de France competitors as final preparation for the race. The Swiss event runs from June 12th and continues until June 20th, while the Dauphiné begins on June sixth and runs until the 13th.

Boonen competed in Switzerland in 2005 and 2006, but choose the Dauphiné in 2007 and again last year.

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