Gilbert out, Boonen Preps up for the Tour de France
Phillipe Gilbert will not participate in the Tour de France this year. This was his plan and he will stick by it. With plans to rest for the upcoming weeks, Gilbert prepares for the Vuelta a España and world road race championships.
In good form, Gilbert performed well in the following events: he finished ninth in Milan-San Remo, third in Gent Wevelgem, second at one of the stages of the Three Days of De Panne, third in the Tour of Flanders, fifth in Brabantse Pijl, first in the Amstel Gold, sixth in Fleche Wallonne and fourth in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Gilbert’s next event be on May 26 for the Tour of Belgium.
Dirk De Wolf Het Nieuwsblad, directeur sportif for Omega-Pharma Lotto supports Gilbert’s decision. “I don’t know what Philippe could aim for there. Proof that he can ride the Tour? He has already done enough. For his type of rider, there is little to gain from the Tour. He can better use this period to prepare for the autumn, where he has a much better chance for a big win.”
On the other hand, Tom Boonen of Quick Step will be present at the Tour de Suisse. This will be his preparatory run before heading off to race at the Tour de France.
Wilfried Peeters, team manager, explains Boonen’s choice. “The date is a bigger reason than the parcours. The later start in Switzerland suits Tom better, especially if you have to recover from jet lag after returning from California.”
Most cyclists opt for the Dauphine Libere or the Tour de Suisse as their last prep before the Tour de France. The Tour de Suisse will be on June 12-20. The Dauphine will be on June 6-13.