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Philippe Gilbert won Haut Var in 2005, when it was a one-day race. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Philippe Gilbert won Haut Var in 2005, when it was a one-day race. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Haut Var Special For Philippe Gilbert

16. February 2012

Santa Rosa, California

Despite being a past winner of Haut Var, Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team said he is taking a relaxed approach to the two-day French race that begins Saturday.

Hushovd A Protected Sprinter

The winner in 2005 when the race was only one day, Gilbert said it would be special to win again. But the Belgian national champion said he is approaching early season races the same as he did last year. "The main goal is just to ride and feel better week after week," Gilbert said. "But of course if I can win without using power, I'll do it. This race is also special for me because it is close of my house in Monaco and some of my friends are coming to support me." BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said former world champion Thor Hushovd could also be a factor if the opening stage ends in a bunch sprint. "Thor is coming back from Qatar in good shape," Lelangue said. "He'll be a protected sprinter for us. With the arrival this year in Fayence (on Sunday), it will be really difficult because it's a steep climb. So I think the big day will be the second day. If we can make something on the general classification with Philippe it will be the last good test before going to the opening of the classics in Belgium."

BMC Racing Team Haut Var Roster (Feb. 18-19):
Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Mathias Frank (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Tim Roe (AUS), Mauro Santambrogio (ITA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA).

Directeur Sportif:
John Lelangue (BEL)

Assistant Director:
Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Staff:
Doctor: Dario Spinelli (ITA). Mechanics: Antonio Biron (ITA), Nick Mondelaers (BEL). Press Officer: Blandine Roquelet (FRA). Soigneurs: Freddy Viaene (BEL), Chris De Vos (BEL). Bus Driver: Gianni Cedroni (ITA).