Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert will compete against one another in the Spring Classics next year, but they will know one another well by then, with both riders - who live in Monaco - set to train together.
"I will train some with Gilbert,” said world champion Hushovd, who will ride for Garmin-Cervelo in 2011. “The hope is that he will give me the necessary challenge, and I thus get a little free workout.”
"He is one of the field's strongest riders and he is the best at what I want to become better at, medium hills,” he said to the Ritzau news agency.
Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) this year won the Amstel Gold Race and the Giro di Lombardia. He and Hushovd are expected to train together whenever possible.
Hushovd's coach, Atli Kvålsvoll, wants to be sure the Norwegian is in form early in the year, as Paris-Roubaix is his first season goal.
“There is a whole group of professional riders in Monaco, among them Tom Boonen, Mark Renshaw, Simon Gerrans and Jeremy Hunt, but Gilbert and Thor fit particularly well together,” Kvålsvoll said.
Hushovd will open his season with the Tours of Qatar and Oman. After Paris-Roubaix, his other season goals will be the Tour de France and the world championships in Copenhagen.