Four times the name of Philippe Gilbert all on the roll of honour of the Amstel Gold Race. Sunday, he with a fifth victory (after 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017) and the Dutchman Jan Raas match as a record holder, but that is where the rider of Quick-Step Floors are not awake of.
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“I start Sunday, as always with the ambition to win. I know that I with a fifth victory in addition to Raas bowl, but that keeps me now is not busy. Such statistics are great when you can later look back on a career. But now I’m just focused on the race,” he said Friday during a press conference in Lanaken, where the team is preparing.
Gilbert went this spring for “#striveforfive”. With the hashtag indicated the rider on social media that he had provided that earnings in Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix, the five “monuments” (with the Round L-B-L and the Lombardy on his palmares would have. That goal failed, he won both classics, but Gilbert don’t let it get to his heart.
“I have tried the bar high, and I was there. It is, unfortunately, not successful, but so be it. Now I look forward,” says Gilbert. “I am well recovered of Paris-Roubaix. I feel ready for Sunday. There are some adjustments to the trail happened, it is somewhat more difficult to verify in the final. But I expect a nice battle.”
Quick-Step Floors bring Sunday, in addition to Gilbert Pieter Serry (fourth in the Brabant Arrow), Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Niki Terpstra and Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe in contention. That last one was already sixth and seventh in the Amstel and Sunday to play an important role, knows Gilbert.
“Julian is in a great shape. That he has in the Tour of the Basque country (with two stage wins, red) is proved. We make a good team, but at the start, though I have with this group is not driven much. Hopefully we can re-score because the Amstel is still one of the most beautiful races on the calendar.”
Julian Alaphilippe has had enough of second places
Julian Alaphilippe is regarded as one of the biggest (climb)talents in the peloton. The Frenchman has on his 25th already to a number of beautiful places collected in the classics, but is still waiting for that one outlier. Sunday, he hopes in the Amstel Gold Race, the gap to fill. That the Frenchman is in form, he proved earlier this month in the very difficult Tour of the Basque country. He won the first and second stage. Quick-Step Floors look one Sunday to him, and (of course), four-time winner Philippe Gilbert in Dutch Limburg, a throw for the victory.
“We have a strong team with which we can certainly score”, says Friday he forward during a press conference in Lanaken, where the team is staying at the Hostellerie La Butte aux Bois. “I expect an open course where it is important is to, before the finale bursts, as little as possible waste of energy. After 250 miles everyone will be in the final on his gums, because the Amstel is a race that by all the running and constant concentration is required. It is important to in the run-up to the finals, as efficiently as possible to drive.”
Alaphilippe state for the fourth time to the start of the Dutch klimklassieker. On his debut in 2014 he gave, but then followed two times in the top ten (seventh in 2015, the sixth in 2016). “If you’re sixth and seventh, then you can, indeed, win. I hope I am anyway. As long as it’s not again a second place. Thereof I have enough,” he laughs.
Alaphilippe was already second in liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of Lombardy and Flèche wallonne (2x).