Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) is eyeing a third win in Het Volk (now renamed to Het Nieuswblad), after his successes in 2008 and 2006. Gilbert also is interested in the Ardennes Classics this season – races he considered too tough last year – and Milano-Sanremo.
Gilbert found the name change of Het Volk unfortunate. "It is a pity they changed the name," he told Belgian paper La Dernière Heure. "Few people know that Het Volk is the name of a newspaper, but the name meant something in the world of cycling. For me, if I can win it again, it will be a third success at Het Volk."
Gilbert has adjusted a few things this season. He went from French team Française des Jeux to Belgian Silence-Lotto and moved his residence to Monaco. The Belgian remains modest. "My win in Paris-Tours hasn't changed anything." But he is still ambitious. "A career doesn't stop there. The goal in cycling is always the same, to race – and to win races."
His objectives besides Het Volk are the Wallonian Classics. He will skip the Ronde van Vlaanderen in order to be fresher at the races that matter most to him.
"This year I want to put my stamp on the Ardennes races. Everybody has told me that the Amstel Gold Race is the Classic that suits me the most in that period." Gilbert remains cautious. "It is hard to say, because I always suffer in the last 20 kilometres."
At Française des Jeux he had the leader role in the Classics, but at Silence he will have to share responsibilities. There are riders like Leif Hoste, Thomas Dekker or Greg van Avermaet. "I am not going to Silence to position myself as the sole leader. I want to have a protected role in certain races. But you have to work hard for the others as well, I will do that without a problem."