Philippe Gilbert (BMC) takes some family time before the start of stage 1 at the Tour de France
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A photographic timeline from Liège to Paris
The prolific-winning Belgian of last year has been absent from the top step of the podium this season. Repeating his near season-long run of form came to an end this year when he’s failed to win a single race. We’ve since flashes of the 2011 Gilbert but he’s been in no condition to repeat his feats of the previous season.
Gilbert however, may put the frustration of the past six months behind him if he wins a stage, or two at the Tour. Signs he may have timed his form to perfection was demonstrated just a week out from the start when he won the Belgian national time trial championships. He then went on to finish ninth in the prologue and looked confident in the finale of stage one.
He failed to repeat his stage one victory in the Tour of 2011 but there’s a feeling Gilbert’s best is yet to come. He’s at the Tour to support his team leader Cadel Evans but that doesn’t mean he can’t ride into Paris with a personal result to go with it – a rider of his calibre deserves that much. But can he do it?
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