For the first time in his career, Philippe Gilbert ended the season without a single victory. The 38-year-old Belgian cyclist, who joined the Lotto Soudal team this year, fell in the 1st stage of the 2020 Tour de France and retired with a fractured kneecap. He returned to racing in mid-September at the Tour of Luxembourg, and also competed in the classic Gooikse Pijl and the Belgian Championship, but the second multi-day BinckBank Tour showed that recovery was incomplete. Knee pain prevented Philippe Gilbert from continuing and he ended the season on September 29 with just 34 racing days.
“This year must be quickly forgotten. It was then, when I came to the peak of the form, fell on the Tour de France. I was upset because this year I could not reach my best level. After 16 years in a row, when I had at least one victory, suddenly I found myself without victories. It’s not that I always attach importance to the number of victories, but statistics such statistics have always filled me with pride.
The first leg of the Tour de France is always dangerous. The organizers knew that if it rained, there would be an ice rink on the road. And the stage continued anyway. And on Milan-San Remo we had to drive through unlit tunnels.
But you shouldn’t blame the organizers for everything. In the event of the fall of Remco in Lombardy, he also blamed the organizers, but there was a mistake by Remco (Evenepula). He took too much risk and made a mistake in managing the bike. When I fell for the Tour de France in 2018, it was my own fault. “
In a conversation with L’Avenir, Philippe Gilbert spoke about the performance and behavior of two young stars, his compatriots Remco Evenepoul and Vaut van Art:
“Remco’s comments can be a little ostentatious, and I can understand why they annoy some. But he needs it, he likes what people say about him. He has his own racing style, just like Tadei Pogachar, that’s why it’s so nice to watch them in the race.
If I were in Van Art’s place, I would try to win all the Monuments first. Lombardy may be too difficult, but he will be able to win everywhere, although to win the Grand Tour he has to lose a few pounds. “
Philippe Gilbert’s list of victories from the Cycling Monuments is missing one – Milan-San Remo, but he emphasizes that winning this classic is not an obsession for him: “Yes, I think about this race, but there are others on my list desires, for example, E3 BinckBank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem. “