The 38-year-old Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) dreams of winning Milan – San Remo, which would allow him to count all the Monuments of cycling on his list.
In the world of cycling, there are five Monuments, and Philippe Gilbert has already won four: Paris – Roubaix in 2019, the Tour of Flanders in 2017, the Tour of Lombardy in 2009 and 2010 and Liège – Bastogne – Liège in 2011 For the moment, only Milan – San Remo refuses him (3rd in 2008 and in 2011) but the Belgian cyclist of 38 years wants to do everything to remedy it.
“Milan – San Remo, it’s a dream. I don’t know if it will be possible this year but it is my motivation. If I made all these sacrifices, it’s to come back for that. It’s my motivation to go train every day to try to get stronger. I always think of Milan – San Remo, it’s so important and I know that if I can do it, it will change my career and my track record ”, he confided on Monday during a press conference during the internship of his Lotto-Soudal team in Spain. To date, three riders (all Belgian) have achieved the “Grand Slam” of Monuments: Eddy Merckx (19 victories on Monuments in total), Roger De Vlaeminck (11) and Rik Van Looy (8). Suffice to say that a victory on March 20 would make him enter the cycling legend.
Gilbert: “I almost started from zero”
But there is a big obstacle to overcome to achieve such a performance: Philippe Gilbert must get back in shape, he who broke his kneecap during the last Tour de France. “Right now I want to run and see how my knee is doing, if I can fight with the best for the wins. If that happens, I can think of more serious goals. I’m going to stay silent on the big goals for now because it’s hard to say. (…) It was much worse than I expected. I had a lot of problems with my leg and not just the knee. I lost a lot of muscle on my left leg and pretty much started from scratch. The first week I was at a beginner’s level. I had no reference and that is why today it is difficult to see where I am. I have come a long way and there are still two or three weeks of work. Then I can add volume and speed. All the problems are settled and I can push hard again, but there is still time before the start of the season. It’s the second shock to the same bone and coming back the second time is always more difficult. “Suffice to say that a victory over Milan – San Remo would be all the more beautiful!