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by Shane Stokes
June 4, 2014
He’s won stages in the past and also worn the Maillot Jaune of race leader but the BMC Racing Team of Philippe Gilbert has confirmed today that he will miss this year’s Tour de France.
Contacted by CyclingTips after French newspaper L’Equipe said that the Belgian would not take part in the event, a spokesman confirmed to this website that was indeed the case.
He also pointed out that while the team has not published a long list this year of the riders in the running for inclusion on the team, it had identified those who would definitely not take part.
This list includes Gilbert, Silvan Dillier, Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Larry Warbasse, Danilo Wyss and Rick Zabel. Also set to miss the Tour is Taylor Phinney, who was originally expected to take part but who suffered leg fractures in a crash at the US national championship.
Another rider who will miss the race is Cadel Evans, who led the team in the Giro d’Italia instead.
According to L’Equipe, Gilbert’s decision not to ride the Tour is based around a preferred programme centering around the Vuelta a España and then his bid to take the world road race title for the second time in his career.
However, the BMC Racing Team spokesman declined to confirm this was the case, saying that the racing programmes of the riders who will miss the Tour will be clarified at a later point in time.
Gilbert had a dominant season in 2011. His results were a lot slower in coming in 2012 and 2013. He had a disappointing first half to his season in 2012, but turned things around when he clocked up two stages in the Vuelta a España plus the world road race title.
Last year was another quiet one in terms of victories, although he again salvaged his season with a stage win at the Vuelta.
The 2014 season has been more successful. He won Brabantse Pilj and the Amstel Gold race, took the mountains classification in the Tour de Picardie and the points competition in the Tour of Belgium. He was also fourth overall in the latter event.
Riding the Tour de France would have given him a chance to chase stage wins, but the team will be primarily concerned with going for the general classification with Tejay van Garderen. The line-up is being built around the American rider, who spoke at length about his Tour campaign on Tuesday.
In that interview, he said that the Belgian rider wanted to focus on the world championships. “From my understanding Gilbert is more keen to do the Vuelta as preparation for the worlds rather than doing the Tour,” he said.
The full interview with van Garderen can been seen here.