Confirming to Cyclingnews that next year's Tour de France will not be an option for him, Philippe Gilbert said that he will continue to focus on the Classics and one-day races at Silence-Lotto in 2010. The Belgian, who had an enormously successful end-of-season with wins at Paris-Tours and the Giro di Lombardia, will target the Spring and Autumn Classics in 2010, as well as the World Championships in Geelong, Australia.
Even though a detailed race programme has not yet been elaborated, Gilbert already knows that he will not participate in the Tour, but instead race the Vuelta a España as preparation for the end of the season. "The Vuelta is planned, yes," he told Cyclingnews on Thursday. The World Championships, as well as the Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours, the Giro del Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia will then be marked red on his calendar to round out a season he hopes will have already brought success.
Gilbert also wished teammate Cadel Evans farewell, as the Australian heads to BMC next season. "For me, his departure is a pity because we got on well and worked well together. I wish him a lot of success and that everything unfolds the way he wants," the Belgian said, not revealing whether Silence-Lotto was planning to recruit another Grand Tour rider for next year.
Gilbert also denied a rumour that he also wanted to leave the squad. "I don't know anything about that, no," he replied when asked if it was true. Gilbert may thus be Silence-Lotto's greatest asset next year in an outfit that will focus on winning one-day events as opposed to stage races - if the team does not come up with a surprise signing, as speculated by Belgian media.
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