Gilbert drops back in green jersey battle
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Gilbert drops back in green jersey battle

by Conal Andrews at 3:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Belgian likely to fight all the way to Madrid

Philippe GilbertPhilippe Gilbert wore the green jersey on yesterday’s twelfth stage of the race, but ended up losing ground in that competition to Mark Cavendish when he could place only tenth in the gallop to the line. The loss in placings saw him dip from secont to fourth in the standings, eighteen points off the HTC Columbia rider’s new total.

“I was well positioned until the last curve. For that I’m happy with my sprint today,” Gilbert said after the stage. “But I have used my brakes a very little bit in that curve and that’s the difference between me and the pure sprinters who pass with no fear and no braking.”

The Omega-Pharma Lotto competitor is building form for the world road race championships and, as he showed in winning stage three to Malaga, is one of the strongest in the world when he’s on a tough course and is on a good day.

However on yesterday’s type of flat finish, it’s hard for him to compete against the pure sprinters like Cavendish.

Both riders are amongst the favourites for the worlds in Geelong; their respective chances will depend on how the race progresses and how much it is controlled. If the riders tackle it with all guns blazing, that will play into Gilbert’s favour as he is responds well to a very hard day in the saddle. Cavendish prefers things to be more organised, and also isn’t as strong on climbs as his Belgian rival.

According to Omega Pharma-Lotto directeur sportif Dirk de Wolf, the Belgian rider plans to race hard right until the end of the Vuelta. “Philippe Gilbert looks like spending a lot of energy but before the world championship, he has do intensities as if he was at training,” he said prior to yesterday’s stage. “He’ll fight for the green and the white jersey until Madrid.”

Providing he’s not demoralised by losing so many points yesterday, he’ll continue battling in the days ahead. To challenge the pure sprinters, he’ll need to go on the attack on the medium mountain stages, and also to pick up points in the intermediate gallops.

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