Philip Gilbert won in 2019, but has no ambition for next Sunday.
“Of course I hope to play a role, not just riding, but I haven’t proven or shown anything this season, so it won’t be easy. I would be happy if I joined, if I finished a minute or two as a winner, not in any unknown place.”
Although the Lotto-Soudal seniors are still quite unfit. “I still had trouble breathing,” he says. “Especially in Amstel, I still feel that if I have to climb, I have to put in those hard efforts, I won’t get enough oxygen.”
“I focus on the Roubaix better, and that’s a longer effort than every time those little slopes. Of course it’s better, in a perfect world, to be super fit, but I can’t control that.”
If you’re not fit, you better get sick, right? “There are few other options,” Gilbert clarifies the context with his employer, who has to fight the WorldTour relegation.
“There is a lot of pressure inside the team to race. Tim Wells should go to France immediately after the Brabantsi Beagle to race there. The team is not having an easy time, there is a lot of tension around points to stay in the WorldTour.”
“There is no longer a long-term vision. We live from week to week, almost day in and day out. There is a lot of pressure.”
There is no such thing as pressing the pause button. “I live on hope. Although maybe in a month we’ll say that wasn’t the smartest choice. I don’t think I’m risking health. Or at least I hope I don’t.”
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