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World champion Philippe Gilbert attacked in the finale
World Champion not officially selected by BMC squad
A disappointing start to the year and a spring campaign without a single victory has not deterred the current road world champion Philippe Gilbert from announcing his intentions to ride the Tour de France, even when faced with the possibility of limited opportunities to secure his own results during the three-week race.
Gilbert's BMC Racing Team has two dedicated leaders for the French grand tour in the form of Cadel Evans, who comes from finishing third-overall at the Giro d'Italia and will attempt to topple the record held by Firmin Lambot as the oldest Tour winner. Waiting in the wings if Evans should falter is his teammate van Garderen who won his first stage race at the Tour of California just a couple of weeks ago.
BMC'c nine-man roster is yet to be finalised and will likely come after the Tour de Suisse at the Critérium du Dauphiné but it's assumed the World Champion will be included in the line-up.
"I do not understand why the team is waiting to communicate the news but I very much want to go," Gilbert told nieuwsblad.be. "Officially, I cannot say but I think everyone understands that I will be in there and I will ride Switzerland [Suisse] in preparation."
The 30-year-old Walloon will captain the squad for the WorldTour race while supporting van Garderen for the overall classification. Greg van Avermaet will also be in attendance for the nine-stage race and faces a similar situation to his rainbow-band wearing teammate, expressing his desire to be at the start on 29 June in Porto-Vecchio on the island of Corsica. Van Avermaet has not ridden the Tour since 2009.
"I'm on the short list of fifteen names," he explained.
Both Gilbert and van Avermaet will have the Swiss tour to prove to team selectors they have the right condition for the Grand Départ. The certainty of Evans and van Garderen leaves just seven available seats on the BMC Tour bus and with the world champion and van Avermaet yet to collect an individual victory in 2013, they will be hoping their next race delivers the kind of result they need to assure their place come the final day of June.