Originally Posted by Panda Claws
He didn't need too? The fact that he could ride at the front was enough. After all Jelle Vanendert did not show anything either, are you telling me that he will suck at the ardennes?
Anyway, GVA was working for Gilbert. That alone suggests that Phil was good.
Really, you're basing your hopes on Jelle Vanendert, a 27 year old guy who had one good spring in his live?
GVA working for Gilbert just shows Gilbert only rides for himself, and wants his team to ride just for him. That's always been his style, in good days and bad.
Originally Posted by Wallace
There are some short memories on this forum. Remember all the way back to last October and burnt out Gilbert was at Lombardia? He had a long season last year, starting with dominant early season form. It makes sense that this year, considering how hard he's going to have to work at the Tour supporting Evans, that he'd reach form later in the season. It's still only March. Gilbert will be a monster from Flanders through LBL. Thor will peak at P-R, where a number of better racers (Cancellara, Boonen esp.) will leave him choking on bits of ground-up pave. Evans is working intelligently towards his only real goal. I don't see anything to be worried about.
You are right about Gilbert's 2011 season being too long, he wasn't a 100% at the World Championship anymore, something he'll definitely wants to be this year in Valkenburg.
But to me at least it makes very little sense for him to sacrifice (a part of) his spring for the Tour. It's incredibly easy to combine a great shape in the spring with a great shape in the autumn, after all, Gilbert did it in 2009 and 2010. Combining the Tour with the World Championship and Lombardia is a lot trickier, especially because the Vuelta is extremely important to be great in those races, with a good spring campaign it becomes even harder. The spring and the autumn are by far the most potentially profitable seasons for Gilbert, in the Tour he could possibly win a stage or 2, not something that would seriously alter his palmares, and in the Olympics he won't be much more than one of the favorites on this parcours. Even a Gilbert at 90% would have had a great chance of winning Sanremo a couple of days ago.
El Pistoletje laughed at Valverde a couple of days ago because he (exaggeratedly) preferred winning Murcia to Sanremo. If Gilbert deliberately sacrificed his chances in Sanremo and Vlaanderen to be good at the Tour, that would be equally stupid.
There's still plenty of time for BMC to make up for their joke of a season start, but I highly doubt any of this was planned, especially in the case of Evans, who had by far the best season of his carreer last year, and had absolutly no reason to change his preperation this year.