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Van Avermaet: We have to unite behind Gilbert for Worlds

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Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) (Image credit:
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) (Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has explained that if Belgium is to do well in the World Championships in Copenhagen in two weeks time, they must all ride for one rider. Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad the Belgian pin-pointed Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) as the team's natural leader after the Walloon's near perfect season.

"The leader has to be Gilbert," said Van Avermaet. "I know people have talked about Tom Boonen being a co-leader, but for me it has to be Gilbert.

"It's fine to have more than one protected rider, but to avoid conflicts, you have to have an overall leader. Gilbert is a complete rider, and has proved this season he can win on any terrain. The results are there, the choice for me is easy."

Boonen along with Van Avermaet have been racing at the Vuelta a Espana where Belgian national selector Carlo Bomans has recently been visiting in the lead-up to the worlds. Bomans is the man who has to make the final decision on team captaincy, and he was far more non-committal when asked about the issue.

"We won't be making any decision until the 12th September."

Gilbert will join Van Avermaet next season at BMC. The two are former teammates after also spending time together at Omega Pharma Lotto.