Gilbert eyes the Giro as a Classics rider

Belgian Philippe Gilbert lines up Saturday for the Tour of Italy after coming third at the Tour of Flanders

Belgian Philippe Gilbert lines up Saturday for the Tour of Italy after coming third at the Tour of Flanders and fourth at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he is still looking for his first victory under the colours of Silence-Lotto, the team he joined this year from Française des Jeux.

"I've done the Giro before and I particularly like the atmosphere of this event," he said. Gilbert has only finished the Giro d'Italia once. In 2004 he placed 32nd overall while helping teammate Bradley McGee finish in the top 10. In 2006, he was took fifth place on two different stages before dropping out on stage 12. This time, he wants more.

"I would have loved to see more of Venice than just a few minutes coming close to the San Marco square for the team presentation," he said after the show organised for the RAI television. "At least I'll be able to say that I was there. It's special to take part in the centennial of the Giro."

The Belgian has targeted stage 3 and stage 4 during the first week. "My goals are in between those of Mark Cavendish and those of the pure climbers, but it looks like there is a lot of space for riders like me this year." He'll ride these stages the same way he does at the Classics.

He has no intention to pull out before the end since he doesn't know yet about his chances to take part in the Tour de France. "Cadel Evans wants me in," he said.

Gilbert criticised the Australian after the Flèche Wallonne, saying that it was difficult to work for a captain who doesn't know what he wants. Evans initially told his teammates that he didn't feel good but he was better towards the end and came fifth. "We get on really well, Cadel is a very nice guy and he likes when things are said in a straightforward way."

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