Omega Pharma-Lotto rider was counting on Boonen
Philippe Gilbert has been one of the top riders of the year in 2011, but says that he is “not ready” to be sole leader of the Belgian team at the World Championships in Copenhagen later this month.
Currently in Canada for the GP Quebec and GP Montreal, the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider told Het Laatste Nieuws, “It makes no sense to have me as the only protected rider. I'm not ready. My form is not the same as in April or July.”
He told the Gazet van Antwerpen, “During a difficult season I spent a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. It was never my intention to take on leadership in Copenhagen.”
Gilbert had planned on Tom Boonen being the team captain at the Worlds road race, but the Quick Step rider's participation is in doubt, after he broke a bone in his hand at the Vuelta. “Without Tom it is a difficult Worlds. He is a specialist for one-day races and a course like the one in Denmark suits him more than me.”
Gilbert, 29, is currently second in the World rankings. This season he leads the pro ranks with 16 victories, including Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne, San Sebastian, one stage at the Tour de France and both road and time trial national titles. He has signed to ride with BMC Racing Team next year.
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