Philippe Gilbert to take break after successful cobbles campaign
The Belgian Champion will enjoy a well-deserved rest before returning to action later this month.
Three days have passed since Philippe Gilbert held his Specialized bike triumphantly over his head before crossing the finish line at Ronde van Vlaanderen, a race in which he scored a majestic win that ranks with the best of all time. Quick-Step Floors' rider, who attacked with 56 kilometers to go, after the team previously took the race by the horns on the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen, brought the squad its 15th Monument victory and at the same time reached several milestones, from becoming the first Belgian Champion in nine years to conquer De Ronde to joining the elite club of riders who won cobbled and hilly Monuments over their career.
After his victory last Sunday, Philippe has opted together with the team to don't ride the 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix, the season's third Monument, so he can focus on the Ardennes Classics, scheduled in the second part of the month.
"Paris-Roubaix has a magnetic attraction on me, but I won't be there this year. I need to take a break, recover properly and then begin thinking of the Ardennes, where I'll be part of a very strong team, together with Julian and Dan", said the 34-year-old, winner of three races this season. "Besides that, I've only raced Roubaix once, back in 2007, and for a race like that you need experience. Tom needs all the support he can get in his final attempt there, as a strong team is a very important factor in Paris-Roubaix, and I wish him all the best."
"Immediately after his splendid Flanders win, the temptation of lining up Philippe at the start was big, especially as he too was thinking of this. But we sat down, thought this through and decided it's better for him to rest a bit and then return to training for the Ardennes campaign, where his experience and power will be very helpful", explained Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors' CEO.
Philippe Gilbert's next race will be Brabantse Pijl (April 12th), which he has won on two occasions (2011 and 2014).
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele