Gilbert to ride both road race and time trial
Belgium will be sending a high-powered team to the 2012 London Olympics, led by Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert. The latter will ride both the road race and the individual time trial.
The pair will be supported by Jürgen Roelandts, Greg Van Avermaet and Stijn Vandenbergh. The team, selected by national coach Carlo Bomans and approved by both the Belgian cycling federation and the national Olympic committee, was announced late Monday afternoon.
Boonen, who rides for Omega Pharma-QuickStep, was the dominant rider of the first half of the season. He has nine wins on the season, including the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Gilbert dominated the entire 2011 season, winning races from the Volta ao Algarve in February to the GP de Wallonie in September, but is still looking for his first win this year.
Bomans said that he hoped all the riders came safely through the Tour de France and the Tour of Poland. “Only then can we really talk about our tactics for London,” he told sporza.be.
Vandenbergh, Boonen's teammate at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, was the surprise on the team. “I opted to take a true domestique. If you see what a step forward he took this spring riding n support of his team, you could say he enforced his selection.
“Vandenbergh is not only there to help Boonen, but the whole team. In Belgium there are not many riders who completely sacrifice themselves.”
Gilbert, who was 2011 Belgian road and time trial champion, will also ride both disciplines in London. "The time trial rider should also come from the five that are allowed to ride the road race. You have to make a choice. If you use one of your five places for the time trial, then maybe you have leave someone else at home."