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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Classic Colnago steel frame with gorgeous pantographed Campagnolo components
Philippe Gilbert powers to the finish line.
Former rider thinks Gilbert would get more support from Omega Pharma-Quick Step
While Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) continues to negotiate with a number of teams for the 2012 season, former French rider Cédric Vasseur says the most likely option, BMC Racing Team, is "not ideal", because of Cadel Evans and Thor Hushovd's co-leadership next year.
On the RTBF, where he works as an expert, Vasseur said that he felt that going to BMC would be a counter-productive move for a rider like Gilbert.
"I don't see a world number one sharing his schedule with potential winners of the Tour de France or Paris-Roubaix," commented Vasseur. "Because of his exceptional success, Philippe Gilbert deserves an exceptional team for 2012, 2013 and 2014. That's why his choice is very important."
Vasseur, who finished his career with Quick Step in 2006 and 2007, says the Belgian team is a more supportive structure than BMC for Gilbert.
"Omega Pharma-Quick Step is a good option. What about a successful alliance between Boonen and Gilbert? But before he even starts to think about the future he still has to sort his contract issues out - and fix them in order to regain his mental freedom."
Gilbert's transfer saga took an unexpected turn when Omega Pharma, the co-sponsor of his current team Lotto, announced they still had a contract with the Belgian through the end of 2012. Though that situation remains unresolved Vasseur was adamant that Gilbert would be better suited to remaining with a Belgian team rather than the American BMC team.
"The best thing for him would be to race in a Belgian team of course", Vasseur says about the Omega Pharma-Quick Step's option. "A 100 percent Belgian team would grant him a successful career until the end of his days. He's the rider of the year and, I would say, even the rider of the last decade."
Gilbert is currently racing the Eneco Tour, as he prepares for his final major goal of the season, the World Championships in Copenhagen.