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Gilbert to target the Tour of Flanders in 2011

Philippe Gilbert will again target the Spring Classics in 2011 but has named the Tour of Flanders as his biggest goal of the season.

The Omega Pharma-Lotto team leader is one of the most talented Classics rider of his generation and won the Amstel Gold Race and the Tour of Lombardy this year. His climbing ability, fast finish and sharp tactical mind, means he can win any of the major monuments on the calendar.

He has set a career goal of winning Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Tours and Tour of Lombardy. He has already won the last two on the list and will build his 2011 spring around the Tour of Flanders, knowing he could win Milan-San Remo along the way.

"Winning six classics is a dream but I'll take them one-by-one. Next year I'm aiming at the Tour of Flanders,” he announced in an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

“I also dream of Liege-Bastogne-Liege of course. But like the ‘Ronde’ (Tour of Flanders), if you're on top form, you never finish outside the top five. "

"You can ride Milan-Sanremo at one hundred percent of your form down and yet only finish twentieth. That never happens at the Tour of Flanders.”

Gilbert usually rides Paris-Nice as his final preparation for the Spring Classics but will join many of his rivals and ride Tirreno-Adriatico in 2011 to avoid the bad weather and hillier route at Paris-Nice.

"It has really become a stage race for climbers. It’s too tough for me at that time of year," he said.

Gilbert is expected to start his 2011 season at the Tour of Qatar in February.
 

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.