Philippe Gilbert will head to the Ardennes Classics this week hoping to bring in Omega Pharma-Lotto's first win of the season. “It's time to harvest,” he said. “I'm ready.”
The 27-year-old will have four chances over the next fortnight at: Brabantse Pijl (April 14), Amstel Gold Race (April 18), Flèche Wallone (April 21) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 26).
His team has come in for much criticism from the Belgian media for its weak showing to date in 2010, “But that does not create any more pressure,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Rather, it motivates me even more.”
“If I win, I will achieve something special and get some nice publicity for the team. If not, then the team and leader will again be showered with criticism.”
Gilbert is cautious about his chances of success at Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl, saying that for this race, “I've tempered my ambitions. I must be realistic; the course suits me a little less [than the other Ardennes Classics], although the re-designed finale increases my chances.”
Although he is still looking for that elusive first season victory both for himself and the team, Gilbert has big plans for this season. He want to close out 2010 as the number-one ranked rider.
“Last year I was close," he said. "I certainly want to achieve it one time in my career. That is a goal in itself.”