Gilbert prepares in Imola ahead of Milan-San Remo

Philippe Gilbert is preparing for Milan-San Remo in Imola following his withdrawal from Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of Monday’s penultimate stage. The Belgian champion pulled out of the race citing fever and BMC team doctor Max Testa will now assess his recovery over the coming days.

Team manager John Lelangue was keen to downplay speculation over the exact state of Gilbert’s health just three days ahead of the first monument classic of the year. Gilbert has endured a low-key beginning to life as a BMC rider following his high-profile switch to the team during the off-season.

“At present, it doesn’t serve any purpose to make a soap opera out of it,” team manager John Lelangue told La Dernière Heure. “Philippe has now gone calmly to Imola, where we are all going to get away for a couple of days before San Remo.”

Gilbert finished third at Milan-San Remo last season, having entered the race on a high following his victories at Strade Bianche and in a tough stage of Tirreno-Adriatico to Castelraimondo.

His progress to date in 2012 has not been as smooth, however. After failing to make an impact at Het Nieuwsblad, Gilbert finished off the pace at Strade Bianche and struggled from the beginning of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Lelangue insisted that he is not concerned by the illness that has laid Gilbert low in recent days, but said that the team would not discuss the matter further until Thursday.

“I’m still not worried,” Lelangue said. “Everybody talks all the time about his fever, but it’s not the only important element in the case. That’s why we’re calming things down. Dr. Testa wants a few days to observe how Philippe’s health develops overall. On Thursday, we’ll check on his progress with the medical staff and a new bulletin will be relayed.”

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