What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta a España, Stage 15: Gilbert Withdraws

BMC Racing Team’s Philippe Gilbert withdrew during Sunday’s stage of the Vuelta a España, saying he did not want to put at risk his preparation for defending his title at the world road championships later this month.

‘Took All The Chances I Could Get’
Gilbert said it was not in his plans to complete the three-week race. He climbed off his BMC teammachine SLR01 after 54 kilometers of the 224.9-km stage that was won solo by Alexandre Geniez (FDJ). “It was extremely cold yesterday and I was still a little bit cold this morning, so I didn’t want to risk anything for the worlds,” Gilbert said. “I also decided before (starting the Vuelta) that I was only doing two weeks – and if it was perfect, a little bit more. So it’s not a surprise for me and the team.” Gilbert said his form improved daily at the Vuelta as he recovered from a crash at the Eneco Tour of Benelux that badly cut his left knee, requiring stitches. “At first I was happy to start in the Vuelta because my knee was not the best,” he said. “I took all the chances I could get. I got a second (on Stage 7) and a first (on Stage 12), so it’s not bad. Now I wish all the guys the best in the last week.” Gilbert has announced he will start GP de Wallonie on Sept. 18 in advance of the world road race on Sept. 29 in Tuscany, Italy. In Sunday’s stage of the Vuelta that finished in France, BMC Racing Team’s Dominik Nerz was 30th, 9:14 behind the winner, and slipped from 13th to 17th overall. He is 17:34 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team).

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