Gilbert optimistic over Vuelta start

A tweet from Philippe Gilbert overnight has shed some light on the seriousness of the injury the Belgian suffered in a crash at Eneco Tour last week.

The BMC rider said: "Today I was able to bend my leg to 70 degres (sic) there is maybe a chance to start the Vuelta. Lets stay optimistic…"

Such a message from the reigning world champion suggests that his injury is perhaps worse than what his team was willing to convey.

Gilbert, along with teammate Taylor Phinney, crashed with about 60km to go on Saturday's Eneco stage. The Belgian finished the stage after some help by several teammates, crossing the finish line in 22nd place before heading to the hospital. Examinations showed no serious injuries, but the injury required eight stitches.

He returned to his home in Monaco, and the doctors have ordered him several days of rest.

"I'm not the least worried that Phil will be at the start of the Vuelta," said team manager Yvon Ledanois. "It was impossible that he would start in the last stage of the Eneco Tour, but there's nothing broken or fundamentally injured. Phil will have three or four days' rest, but with the form he is in, I do not expect a decline."

"He will be there fully for the Vuelta. We have two, three stages picked out, but he especially wants to lay the foundation for the world championships."

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