Gilbert opts for Tirreno-Adriatico as best preparation for Milan-Sanremo
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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Gilbert opts for Tirreno-Adriatico as best preparation for Milan-Sanremo

by Shane Stokes at 9:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo
 
Belgian rider missing Paris-Nice in order to have best chance of winning Italian Classic

Philippe GilbertHaving previously finished third in Milan San Remo in 2008, then taking ninth last year, Philippe Gilbert wants to finally top the podium in the prestigious Italian Classic. He has shown strong form already this season in winning a stage of the Volta ao Algarve, then last Saturday was highly impressive in taking the Montepaschi Strade Bianche.

Aside from his continuous evolution as a rider, he’s also rejigging his programme to ensure that he’s in the best possible shape for La Primavera. He’s done Paris-Nice every year since 2004, apart from riding Tirreno-Adriatico in 2006, using that as his preparation for the Classic. 2011 is different though, and today he’ll start the Italian stage race for the second time in his career.

“Paris-Nice has really become a preparation for Tour riders,” he said, referring to those who traditionally take part. “Tirreno to me is much better, though I have absolutely no plan [for it]. I’ll take it day to day in Italy, a country that I like.”

Similar to the correlation between Vuelta a España participation and victory in the worlds, the vast majority of recent Tirreno-Adriatico victors have used Tirreno-Adriatico as preparation. One very clear reason why it works out better is because it ends closer to the event, giving the riders enough time to recover, but not enough to start losing the form and sharpness they had gained.

The Italian race begins today with a team time trial at Marina di Carrara. Gilbert’s Omega Pharma Lotto team is not expected to rival other teams such as Sky Procycling, Leopard Trek, Garmin-Cervélo, HTC Highroad and the BMC Racing Team, but he’ll be fine with that. His goal is not to win Tirreno, but to test his legs on a couple of stages and to make a serious push to win Milan Sanremo in ten day’s time.

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