Philippe Gilbert and Cadel Evans will share the Silence-Lotto team leadership tomorrow at Giro di Lombardia, according to Gilbert. The Belgian won his third consecutive race yesterday at Giro del Piemonte, three weeks since Evans won the World Championships.
Both Gilbert and Evans are dreaming of Lombardia, the last big race on the season's calendar and one cycling's five Monuments.
"He wants to win, but we are both professionals," Gilbert told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's clear between us. If I can win I will do it, if I see that I am cooked, he can win."
Evans helped Gilbert win Coppa Sabatini October 8 at his first race wearing the rainbow jersey of World Champion. Gilbert attacked with Tom Boonen and out-sprinted his countryman at Paris-Tours Sunday. He made three in a row yesterday, sprinting to win in Fossano, Italy, at the Giro del Piemonte.
Evans abandoned with 50 kilometres to race yesterday to prepare for Lombardia.The legendary race has always been one of the Australians' end-of-season goals and he lives close to the race course. Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) and Russian Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank), favourites for Lombardia, also abandoned with Evans.
Kolobnev, Vinokourov and Evans, along with three-time winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) and Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne), are Gilbert's favourites for the event on Sunday.
The 103rd Giro di Lombardia starts in Varese and finishes in Como, 242 kilometres. The Madonna di Ghisallo, Civiglio and San Fermo climbs come in the final 60 kilometres and will help decide the race.
"It's a lot harder as a race, but when I am in top condition I can do it all," said Gilbert. "I've had a fourth in Liège and Amstel, which are similar races. The first important point is Ghisallo, but for me Civiglio is important."
Like in Piemonte, Gilbert will be thinking of former cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke, who died Monday in Senegal. The two Belgians trained together, the last time being in Mendrisio, Switzerland, before the World Championships. He dedicated his Piemonte win to Vandenbroucke.
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