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Philippe Gilbert hopes to return to form in the Classics this season
Belgian lines up at Roma Maxima this weekend
Milan-San Remo remains an objective for Philippe Gilbert in spite of the absence of the proposed new climb of the Pompeiana from the route, according to BMC directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois. RCS Sport last week confirmed that the Pompeiana will not feature as safety conditions could not be guaranteed following damage caused by winter weather.
In the absence of the Pomepeiana – which was to have featured between the Cipressa and Poggio in the finale – and the climb of Le Manie, the route seems less suited to Gilbert’s characteristics. When this parcours last appeared in 2007, Gilbert led over the Poggio with Riccardo Riccò, but they were caught on the descent and Oscar Freire won in San Remo.
“I was with him when we learned that the Pompeiana would not be on the route of Milan-San Remo after all,” Yvon Ledanois told La Dernière Heure. “But I can assure that in spite of this latest modification, La Primavera remains the first big goal of his season. He’s always had it in mind, and that hasn’t changed an iota.”
Ledanois believes that Gilbert is on track to hit top form for his main goals, the Ardennes classics, and declared himself pleased with the Belgian’s showing in France last weekend, when he finished 3rd in the Classic Sud Ardèche and 9th at the Drôme Classic.
“Philippe is, in my opinion, perfectly on time for his objectives,” said Ledanois. “He was always present in the finale [last weekend] but too isolated for my liking. I would have liked had one or more of his teammates been up there given the team we had selected on that occasion.”
Gilbert will forgo Saturday’s Strade Bianche, which he won in 2011, and instead line up at Roma Maxima on Sunday before riding Tirreno-Adriatico as his final tune-up for Milan-San Remo.
“I chose this race because we have a lot of leaders for Strade Bianche the day before,” Gilbert said. “I’ve never taken part in the Roman race but I’m in good form and so I’m aiming for the best result possible.”