Gilbert in perfect shape for Worlds

Walloon has clarified road race leadership with Boonen

Philippe Gilbert of Silence-Lotto is back at home in Monaco this week before he heads to the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, on Thursday. Recovering from the Vuelta a España, where he showed that his current form is at the top, the Belgian is confident that he is ready for a strong performance at the Worlds road race on Sunday.

"I'm in perfect condition, but I still needed to test myself [at the Vuelta]," Gilbert told La Dernière Heure about his three-week tour through Spain, where he pulled off some good performances even if he was unable to win a stage.

"The Tour of Spain is the ideal preparation for any World Championship and definitely for this one," continued the 26-year-old, who currently weighs one kilo less than his normal competition weight. "In Mendrisio, where the climbs will be repetitive, you have to be as light as possible. The race is something for climbers, but - like in Liège-Bastogne-Liège or Lombardia - riders of one-day races can get their chance."

And this is exactly what the Classics specialist intends to do, if the race presents him with the opportunity. Together with Tom Boonen, Gilbert is co-leader of the Belgian team and has spoken to the former World champion about their team's strategy at the Vuelta.

"Tom and I spoke a lot in Spain, we are both in good shape. I'm certain that we can be complementary. I told him that if the Worlds race is slow and not so hard, then he has his chance but if the race is hard, then it will be for me. I pointed out to him that the next two World Championships [in Australia and Copenhagen - ed.] should be less hard and therefore more suited to him. I will not hesitate to return his favour."

It will also be important not to make the same mistakes as in Varese 2008, where the Belgian team was not united behind team leader Boonen. "What happened last year shouldn't be repeated. To the contrary, we have to learn from it. We will see what [national coach ] Bomans comes up with, but I will definitely encourage communication between us. We shouldn't take responsibility of the race - that's the Italians' job. We have to stay united and have as much riders as possible in the finale."

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