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“I’m not going to the Worlds, it’s 99.9 per cent certain, as they say. On a circuit like Doha, I’d have no ambitions of my own and I don’t think I’d be an important part in the Belgian team."

Photo: Tim De Waele/TDW Sport

PHILIPPE GILBERT

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17.08.2016 @ 19:45 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Philippe Gilbert has ridden the Worlds every year since he turned pro in 2003. The Belgian, heading for Etixx-QuickStep in 2017, has confirmed 2016 will be the first Worlds he will miss, as the Qatar course is not hard enough for him.

 

“I’m not going to the Worlds, it’s 99.9 per cent certain, as they say,” Gilbert told La Dernière Heure. “On a circuit like the one in Doha, I’d have no ambitions of my own and I don’t think I’d be an important part in the Belgian team. I always prefer to be honest, and I’ve relayed my point of view to the coach, Kevin De Weert. Other riders are maybe better than me and will fight more willingly for position [on that course].”

 

He says if his nation had a rider who sprinting well, he would perhaps have revised his decision as his Worlds experience would have been invaluable.

 

“If we had a rider in our ranks like the Boonen of 2005 or 2006, capable of rivalling the best sprinters in the world, then I would undoubtedly have revised my point of view to live that occasion and bring my experience,” Gilbert said.

 

Gilbert has already represented his country this season at the Rio Olympics, saying he was overjoyed to be part of Greg Van Avermaet’s win but was shocked at his own poor performance.

 

“I was very disappointed with my personal performance at the Clasica San Sebastian and the Olympic Games. I thought I’d done everything to get to those two rendezvous on top form, but I have to acknowledge that I came up short. It’s the first time in my career that I’ve failed with my preparation for an objective like that,” Gilbert said. “Greg’s gold medal and the fantastic emotions it generated help to forget the rest, but if I analyse just my own performance and condition in Rio, I’m still disappointed.”

 

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