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“With Gilbert and Tom they know each other well and that means they can help each other win. For a race like Flanders we always have a plan and Gilbert is, like Tom, also one of the guys who can win a race like that"

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20.11.2016 @ 16:55 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Etixx-QuickStep DS Wilfried Peeters says new signing Philippe Gilbert can be a potent weapon with Tom Boonen and the rest of the Classics team at the Tour of Flanders.

 

“With Gilbert and Tom they know each other well and that means they can help each other win. For a race like Flanders we always have a plan and Gilbert is, like Tom, also one of the guys who can win a race like that. It’s possible that they race together there but again nothing is confirmed yet, we still need to make things certain at our camp. We don’t know yet Philippe’s programme.”

 

Gilbert has ridden De Ronde seven times, although since joining BMC in 2012 he has not taken part since. His best result was third in both 2009 and 2010. He has plenty of success in the Ardennes, with three Amstels and a World title on the same course and in 2011 became just the second rider in history to win every Ardennnes Classic in the same season. He also has two Giro di Lombardias.

 

Not much is known about Boonen’s program either, with a start in Tour of Qatar highly possible. We do know when his season ends however: the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix, where he will hang his wheels up for good and bring an end to a beautiful career that has seen him win 7 Monuments and a World Title.

 

“At the moment Tom is on track. He’s doing some mountain biking and some cyclo-cross to keep fit over the winter and we’re just treating it like any other off-season. We don’t yet know about his first race. It could be Qatar but again we don’t know the final plans until we have our camp in December.”

 

“You can’t think too much about Tom stopping. What Tom needs to do is have a good winter and keep his focus, which I’m sure he will. When it comes to racing he can’t think about the end, he and the rest of the team just needs to concentrate on the next race coming up.”

 

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