Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has decided not to ride this year's Tour de France, according to L'Équipe. The Belgian will, instead, focus on the Vuelta a España and the World Championships later this season.
Gilbert has ridden both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España - in the same year - four times during his career, including 2012 when he won his World title in Valkenburg. However, BMC's sporting manager has made some serious changes to Gilbert’s schedule, which seems to include the Grand Boucle.
After two troubled years for Gilbert, the alterations to his racing programme have improved things for the 31-year-old. At this point last year, desperation had almost set in when he'd failed to win a single race during the Ardennes Classics. While it's not a total turn around, Gilbert can boast victories at Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold.
Gilbert recently finished fourth at the Belgium Tour, which was won by Tony Martin. He will next be in action at the GP du canton d'Argovie in Switzerland on June 12, before the Tour de Suisse two days later.
BMC will be lead by Tejay van Garderen at this year's Tour de France, who will take sole leadership of the team for the first time.