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Phil has still hungry

Championships in 2019 try to Philippe Gilbert all five wielermonumenten on his hall of fame.

Phil has still hungry

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Philippe Gilbert is aiming high, but remains realistic: “There is a chance that it will succeed, but I also know that there is a much greater chance that the me does not succeed.’ Eric Lalmand/belga

Championships in 2019 try to Philippe Gilbert all five wielermonumenten on his hall of fame.

Phil has still hungry

Jan-Pieter De Vlieger

CalpeNog once and then never more: in 2019, Philippe Gilbert with his ‘strive for five’. He is aiming for again this season in Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix, so all five monuments on his name to write. However that may be, two classics win in a season in which you are 37? He is pretty realistic about the chances of success of the project: “There is a chance that it will succeed, but I also know that there is a much greater chance that the me does not succeed.’

Milan-Sanremo (23 march)

No leader around the Poggio

It is especially not easy to create a scenario to consider in which Gilbert still Sanremo wins. It is all of the wonderful year of 2011 since he is in La Primavera is still on the podium. Sean Kelly did it in his 36th with a mad descent of the Poggio, but that was with an arrival in Corso Cavallotti, one kilometre after the Poggio.

A bigger problem is that Gilbert, no leader will be in the strong Deceuninck-selection. The team will try to sprint with Elia Viviani. If there on the Poggio however a group pulling away, Julian Alaphilippe, the rider with the strongest punch.

“It is simple: I want to win what I have not yet won, and win again what I have already won’

Gilbert stood Tuesday at the team presentation in addition to Alaphilippe on the stage and said it himself in so many words: “Yes, Milan-Sanremo is a goal, but with Julian and Elijah are there also other candidates. It is not easy for me to get that rate even to win.’

In his preparation for Milan-san remo returns to Gilbert this year, back to Paris-Nice. ‘To that I which course like to drive and because I than five days of rest have to Sanremo.’

Paris-Roubaix (april 14)

The alfaman, but no privileges

Last year, reed Gilbert for the first time since 2007 Paris-Roubaix. No one hot or cold was of his fifteenth place. This year should be better, Gilbert. ‘Last year is instructive,’ he says. “Even at my age you learn are often things. Very specifically, last year I learned that there are always tins & drink cans should take, also if you there is no need. Along the way, they jump on the cobblestones from the holder. So I have that much to drink.’

Throughout the spring was Gilbert almost constantly caught in the ploegenspel. He was second in E3 Harelbeke, third in the Tour of Flanders. Two races that teammate Niki Terpstra won. “But Niki was also twice the best,” says Gilbert. “I was good in the spring, but never great. I had not the level that I in 2017.”

Terpstra is left, leaving Gilbert to the start of Paris-Roubaix the greatest alfaman will be within the selection. But with Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Stybar he is still two team mates on the Northern French cobblestones more credentials to be able to present. “And this year will be Bob Jungels still recovering,” says Gilbert. “He is also very easy on the cobblestones. That I have already in the Tour.’

Patrick Lefevere stressed that Gilbert is not on privileges should count because it is such a beautiful story would be if he also Roubaix to his palmares. That is the lesson that the team after Tom Boonen has learned. ‘Riders and team managers gave Tom a very hard victory in his last Roubaix, ” says Lefevere. ‘Make sense for a rider who fourteen years in the team has been. He was in advance not above the rest, but in the course looked at everyone but him.” That error they go at Deceuninck-Quick Step not more. Paris-Roubaix is not a race of ‘all the balls in Gilbert.

World CHAMPIONSHIPS in Harrogate (september 29)

A course tailor-made

After the spring will Gilbert be there when the Tour in Brussels start, ” because Eddy Merckx still a friend’. Then the focus shifts to the world cup. ‘That is, of course, still very distant. More than nine months. But I have the route already viewed and that pleases me.’

The world cup is this year from Leeds to Harrogate, with a finale of seven local laps on a hilly course with fast finish. There is only a vague profile available, but that adds yet pronounced the signature of Gilbert. It seems to be a trail such as that of the new liège-Bastogne-Liège, which may be announced next week is: be very selective, but with a flat finish. “These are the tracks that for me the best are,” says Gilbert. “In the Round, I am at the start with the fastest 25 riders. In races like Liège, certainly after the selection, I am with the fastest three.’

Coach Verbrugghe said Gilbert one of its logical leaders. At the same time, there is of course the fact that Belgium, with Van Avermaet, Teuns, Wellens and Benoot meanwhile, a lot of good Ardennencoureurs.

Gilbert was already world champion in 2012, but that is why the world cup this year, no less a purpose than to Sanremo or Roubaix. ‘It’s simple’, he decides, ‘I want to win what I have not yet won, and win again what I’ve already won.’

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