After his spectacular win of the World Championship road race last weekend, Philippe Gilbert is more motivated than ever to continue his success at the Giro di Lombardia this upcoming Saturday. In order to finish his season in true style, the BMC rider will skip the Giro del Piemonte taking place on Thursday and place all bets on the "race of the falling leaves" which he already won twice, in 2009 and 2010.
"Phil is very motivated to take his first win wearing the rainbow jersey on Saturday in Lombardia," BMC sports director Rik Verbrugghe told Sporza. "He didn't party for very long, the course suits him and he's fit."
Initially, Gilbert's race programme included the Giro del Piemonte - which he also won twice, each time as an 'appetizer' for Lombardia - but the Belgian decided to skip the event this year to fully concentrate on the WorldTour Classic.
Verbrugghe had no doubt in his mind that Gilbert had fully overcome the difficulties that overshadowed his 2012 season until his World Championship win, and that he would now return to the level he had in 2011, when he won almost anything he had picked as an objective.
"Every champion has an off-year," the sports director continued. "I think that Philippe had it now and that we will see a beautiful World champion next year."