As we get set to begin the Spring Classics with tomorrow’s running of the 102nd Milan-San Remo, it’s the perfect time examine some of the important questions facing the major riders and teams during this year’s spring campaign. As each question is posted, feel free to share your opinions, insights, and predictions as comments—your commentary and spirited dialogue is always appreciated.
6. Will Philippe Gilbert finally win a spring Monument?
He’s only 28, but it seems as if Gilbert’s been knocking on the door of a spring Monument victory (Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, or Liege-Bastogne-Liege) for several years now. Yes, he won the Amstel Gold Race last year, but to anyone watching it was clearly a consolation prize compared to Flanders and Liege. We know it’s not the cobbles that bother him—he has two wins in the Omloop—and we know his failure to win one is not caused by a lack of aggressiveness—he’s easily the most exciting rider in the peloton.
One knock against the talented Belgian might be his team. He’s lost Leif Hoste to Katusha, leaving Jurgen Roelandts to shoulder the load of being Gilbert’s lieutenant. Marcel Sieberg and Jussi Veikkanen will help in Flanders, as will Jurgen Van den Broeck and Jan Bakelants in the Ardennes. Still, it will be simple for other teams to key-in on Gilbert in his major targets. He’s not going to sneak up on anyone; if he wants to win Milan-San Remo, the Ronde, or Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he’ll just have to get the job done himself—making any potential win all the more spectacular.
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