Philippe Gilbert is still looking for his first win in the rainbow jersey of the world road champion, but he hopes to change that this coming weekend at the Belgian championship race in La Roche. The BMC rider came close in the Tour de Suisse, placing third in Saturday's penultimate stage, a placing with which he is satisfied.
A difficult climb near the end of that eighth stage narrowed the field down to 40 or so riders, and Gilbert finished behind Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff), both of whom he described as “very strong. It is no shame to finish third behind those names. If you check my sprints, that third place is where I belong. Of course you always hope for better.”
It was far and away his best finish in the Swiss race, and he was pleased with his overall performance. “The condition is there, the speed too. I am satisfied with my Tour de Suisse. I worked well.”
One reason why he did not place higher is that he was not riding for himself. “We worked our the race leader, Mathias Frank, and Tejay van Garderen all week. When you have a team like BMC, the leaders have to work for each other in each race.”
Gilbert is apparently still not assured a place on the Tour de France squad. Team principal Jim Ochowicz has publicly said that only Cadel Evans and Van Garderen are set for the team, although Gilbert said earlier that he has been told privately that he too will ride the Tour.