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Philippe Gilbert is the Belgian national road and time trial champion.
Philippe Gilbert is the Belgian national road and time trial champion.

Two Minutes With... Philippe Gilbert

5. January 2012

Santa Rosa, California

This is the first in a series of getting-to-know interviews with riders new to the BMC Racing Team in 2012. Today's installment introduces Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian national road and time trial champion was the No. 1 rider in the world in 2011.

How are you approaching this season after winning so many races last year?
"I know what I did last year was incredible. But I had good support and confidence from my team – which I already have from the BMC Racing Team now. So I know I will have the support and the condition it takes to do a good performance. Physically, sometimes you can be three or five percent less of what you want to be and you don't win. But I'm ready for this. If I don't win, it's sports."

If you could make a wish list for 2012, what would be on it?
"It would be to not have any bad crashes or to get sick. If I can avoid those things, I will be on my way to good results. It's difficult to hope to win this race or that race. I don't need the extra pressure because I will start most of the classics as one of the favorites. Instead, I will just hope to do my best and be as prepared as possible."

What will it be like starting the Tour de France as a teammate of the defending champion?
"Already I knew Cadel Evans from being teammates with him before. But I can feel he is different now. He's more relaxed. He's won the Tour already and it's not the same Cadel as I knew from 2009. But he's still very professional, very focused and being next to him at the start of the Tour de France will be something very special."

Compare yourself now to the rider you were a year ago. How have you changed?
"I just try to restart after every season, whether it's a good, bad or just a lesser season. I always want to do my best. I don't think about winning. I always have the same motivation and goals whether I have won a race or not. I will start every race like I have never won it, whether I have won it before or not."