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"Of course I have a chance here. On this course I have the same chance as other favorites. I see 25 or 30 riders who can win. Who will it be? I do not like to predict, but I hope it will be a Belgian."

Photo: Sirotti

GREG VAN AVERMAET

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PHILIPPE GILBERT

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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25.09.2015 @ 19:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The question that every Belgian cycling is asking at the moment is whether their national team is backing Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert or Greg Van Avermaet in the road race? Even two days before the race the three leaders are cautious. "It is a great luxury that we can win in multiple ways."

 

Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert's been in America for a while to prepare optimally. "I really feel that I have done everything for this race. I've been here for two weeks at the hotel, but I have not had time to read the newspaper. Sometimes I had some contact with my family, but for the rest I have trained very hard," he tolds Sporza

 

"I do not have much racing in my legs but maybe that is not a disadvantage. I have trained behind the motorbike, done a race simulation which should be enough. I feel like I just have to be well-prepared and must be at the start with motivation and ambition.

 

"The last four kilometers are reminiscent of the Tour of Flanders. Steep climbs with cobblestones that are really bad. The finale will be tough. It will be very difficult to make a difference on such a course. You might be able to get a couple of meters but not more.

 

"Who is the favorite? I fear especially Kristoff. If he's not too bad in the end, he is hard to beat. Also Matthews will be good, I think. But, yes, we can name many riders. It is anyway a course for many.

 

"It's hard to say how much chance I have. This year I have not won a top race and'm not a super favorite. If other riders have five stars, I have three or four. I have to enjoy and take advantage of that role."

 

 

Boonen

"Whether I would like to be coach? Ask me about that in another couple of years," laughed a relaxed Boonen. "Okay, there are many leaders, but whether they can work together depends more on them than the coach. In recent years, it always proved very successful.

 

"The Belgian team is working very weell together. This year there is a really good atmosphere in Richmond. When you eat together, train together, and basically do everything together, it makes a unity. In the race, it is obviously more difficult.

 

"We have a selection which can win the race in different ways. Many countries are handicapped because they only have one way to win. You know their tactics in advance. For, us the tactics a little unclear for the rest. Within the team, the tactics is already quite clear, but you have to wait and see how the race goes. It is a great luxury that we can bet on several horses at the Worlds.

 

"Whether I'm going to attack or sprint? That depends on the race. If the race is hard enough, I can follow the attacks on the climbs. But if I feel that we are 100 percent sure that 50 or 60 riders will go to the finish, it is foolish to attack. Then I won't waste energy.

 

"Of course I have a chance here. On this course I have the same chance as other favorites. I see 25 or 30 riders who can win. Who will it be? I do not like to predict, but I hope it will be a Belgian."

 

Van Avermaet

Greg Van Avermaet knows everything will depend on its timing. "When I look at the course, I think you should wait as long as possible. It is sometimes difficult for me. I often go a little too early. That is simply my riding style. I want to feel the wind.

 

"Sometimes that desire to attack is my strength, sometimes my weakness. But I have tried to wait and never won a race in that way. I think I have to choose the right moment. It's a tough final but I had rather had it a bit more difficult.

 

"I think the Worlds willl be decided in the final lap on the way to Libby Hill. It is a beautiful run-in and then there is no rest until the finish. The finale is the hardest point of the course and that boosts my confidence. Everyone will be really tired there, but I usually still have something left to make a difference.

 

"What chance I have? Five percent. That's not much, but enough to win. There are many favorites and I'm one of them. Within our team, everyone wants to win. That's not easy for the coach, but he should be proud. At every Worlds he has someone who can be world champion.

 

"It is now up to Carlo [Bomans, coach] to give good guidelines during the race, and then there is definitely something for us. For me it does not matter as I can ride my own racr. If I have a couple of riders to position me, I must prove that I'm strong enough. I have to take my victory itself."

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