Gilbert to skip Tour de France again

Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) will skip the Tour de France again next season to give more attention to one-day races.

"With [Cadel] Evans' departure we no longer have a team for the Tours. This means that more than ever we must aim for the one-day races, so there will be more pressure on my shoulders," Gilbert told Sporza yesterday.

Gilbert will begin his season at the Tour of Qatar and build for the Classics. Milano-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Ardennes Classics are his goals, he said. He finished third at the Ronde and fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège this season.

"I hope to do something better than this year," Gilbert continued.

This year, Gilbert raced the Giro d'Italia and took his first win of the season on stage 20 to Anagni. However, both next year's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France routes will feature more mountain stages than their previous editions.

"I'd only have three or four chances. I can lose more than win, it's like playing the lotto," Gilbert told Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Gilbert plans to race the Vuelta a España in late summer to prepare for the World Championships in Australia. This year, he raced the Vuelta, which gave him good form for the Autumn Classics. He finished sixth at the World Championships and then won four consecutive races: Paris-Tours, Coppa Sabatini, Giro del Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia.

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