Phillipe Gilbert will be ending his final season in the Pro Peloton without taking part in either Tour Of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, will instead be focusing all of his attention on Ardennes Classics, it seems that the Belgian is on a very important mission right now. Although he won both the said races, he has other plans this season.
It seems that Gilbert is following in the footsteps of legendary racers Eddy Merckx and Roger De Vlaeminck from the 1970s, as they won all the five monuments, he plans to do the same. Although, for that, he would have to conquer the Milan-San Remo as he wasn’t able to do that before. Phillipe Gilbert’s three-year deal will also be ending with Lotto Soudal this season so new objectives are on the horizon for the Belgian.
Gilbert won both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2017 and 2019 respectively although this time, he has other plans in motion.
— Philippe Gilbert (@PhilippeGilbert) January 15, 2022
Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, Gilbert stated,
I’ll start with the Challenge Mallorca at the end of January. Then I’ll go one last time in search of the one missing piece in my collection of Monuments. Although Milan-San Remo remains a difficult race – who would have predicted that Stuyven would win last year?
I’m not riding the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. I don’t want to be distracted. I’m going for the Ardennes Classics. It’s a logical choice and I’m preparing for them specifically. Ardennes week will be special. It will be a beautiful moment. I know everyone there and I’ll be ‘playing a home game’. It’s always nice.
(Credit To Het Nieuwsblad)
Moving on to spring will be the big catch for Gilbert as he will be competing again in the Milan-San Remo and the Ardennes Classics, this will reportedly be Gilbert’s 18th attempt at the Milan-San Remo. Summer is also jam-packed for the Belgian as he will mark his 10th Tour De France this year. There are big hints coming from Gilbert himself that this will be his last Tour De France but that too could change at any moment.
I want to go to the Tour for the 10th time. It’s a nice number. Last year I gave an interview and said it might be my last Tour. When I saw the new Parcours I was eager to return.
Gilbert has been on the recovering side since last year, in 2021 he recorded no new wins for his portfolio. Although he managed to be ranked as the top five in Brussels Cycling Classics and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, that still doesn’t round up to much. The main feeling of disappointment for the Belgian comes from the poor performance of his team as they only managed to be ranked at the 18th position on the UCI rankings.
Of course, I am better than last year. Then I rode on one leg. My right thigh has four centimeters less circumference. I really had a lot of problems after my two big crashes at the Tour where I fell on my knees twice. I suffered a lot because of that, and I couldn’t reach the level I wanted.
— Philippe Gilbert (@PhilippeGilbert) January 16, 2022
Even his team, Lotto Soudal is going through a leadership change. Director Herman Frison and Team Manager Marc Sergeant will be leaving, however, Allan Davis and Cherie Pridham will be joining the team. Even Yana Steel will be joining Lotto Soudal as the new Chief Business Officer, she was previously associated with Astana Qazaqstan.
Along with the upper management, some new riders will also be joining the ambitious team, this includes Jarrad Drizners.
It was high time that the atmosphere changed. It was very difficult to live in the team but now it’s better. We have a better base, better elements in all ranks and the atmosphere is better. Everyone says so. Everyone has more desire and that drives the team forward
A lot has changed. We have many new faces. Everyone gives the impression that they’re motivated. The expectations and ambitions – everything is clearer and easier.
2022 is shaping up to be a very competitive but also a completely different experience for Phillipe Gilbert, while exempting from Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, his mind is focused on the bigger picture. He is seeking a chance at redemption with the Milan-San Remo and will also be trying his best at the Tour De France, we wish him luck!
Featured Image Via Twitter/PhilippeGilbert