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"The front will certainly also include Classics riders like Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara. Furthermore, explosive riders like Joaquím Rodriguez, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Samuel Sanchez are likely to be hoverin...

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JAN BAKELANTS

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NEWS

PHILIPPE GILBERT

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
27.09.2013 @ 19:37 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

When speaking to the press on Friday, two days before the race to decide Philippe Gilbert’s successor as the world road race champion, Gilberts compatriot and team-mate Jan Bakelants gave his full-fledged support for the defending champion even though Gilbert has a disappointing an almost win-less 2013 season.

 

“Philippe Gilbert is the undisputed leader,” said Jan Bakelants Friday at a news conference.

 

Bakelants is still looking for an employer for 2014. He had an agreement with the new team of Formula One racer Fernando Alonso, but at present it seems that such a team will not materialize until 2015.

 

“What happened is annoying,” Bakelants said. "I have to prepare for this race and I did what I had to do to be good and I have all the worries about a new contract put out of my head. What counts is the title race on Sunday. It’s only natural that Philippe Gilbert will be our

pronounced leader, it seems normal and there will be no controversy over his selection [as leader of the Belgian team].”

 

Talking about his own prospects on Sunday, Bakelants said that his recent good form and results allow him him a certain degree of freedom and relieves him of the responsibility of joining early breakaway attempts to ensure a Belgian presence in such early escapes.

 

"Mine is a comfortable position after my performance during the past weeks and especially after the GP de Wallonie. I will not be the man who goes into a first escape. I consider the parcours difficult but manageable. It cannot cause any problems for a well-trained rider.”

 

"I predict that 25 riders will be left to decide the finale. This group will contain two Belgians, Gilbert and Van Avermaet or myself. The front will certainly also include Classics riders like Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara. Furthermore, explosive riders like Joaquím Rodriguez, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Samuel Sanchez are likely to be hovering around, waiting for their opportunity to pounce,” Bakelants concluded.

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