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Philippe Gilbert's first race as world road champion is Saturday's Il Lombardia. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Philippe Gilbert's first race as world road champion is Saturday's Il Lombardia. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Gilbert Ready For First Race As World Champion

28. settembre 2012

Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team proclaimed himself ready for his first race since winning the world road title during a pre-Il Lombardia press conference Friday near Milan, Italy.

Rain In The Forecast
Gilbert was presented with his rainbow-striped kit and matching BMC teammachine SLR01 before the event. "I think it (the race) will be a little bit special because it will be the first time I will wear this jersey," Gilbert said. "I just received it today at the hotel. They (Hincapie Sportswear) did good work. It looks good and nice with 'BMC' on it." A two-time winner of Il Lombardia in 2009 and 2010, Gilbert said he won't mind if the 251-kilometer race is run in the rain, as is forecast. "It's a good thing for me," he said. "I'm good in the descents and I have good Continental tires. We have a strong team, too, and I have a good week of training behind me."

Strong Team Around Him
Lelangue said the decision to hold Gilbert out of Gran Piemonte on Thursday – a race in which BMC Racing Team's Mauro Santambrogio was sixth and Greg Van Avermaet was seventh  – was a good one. "Philippe had a little bit more rest and training in Monaco where there was good weather," Lelangue said. "We have a strong team around him with experienced guys like Alessandro Ballan and Mauro, guys who are already focused on this race. The weather could be bad, but that's not so bad for us. It's the last big classic of the season, so we will try for a result there and with extra motivation because we have the world champion."

Click here to listen to complete audio from the press conference (includes English and French comments).

Click here to download the official race card (PDF with roster, bios, statistics, etc.).