Belgian national champion Philippe Gilbert will not race at Paris–Roubaix on Sunday following his Tour of Flanders victory last weekend, his Quick-Step Floors team said on Tuesday. The 34-year-old claimed a sensational solo breakaway victory at the prestigious cobbled classic in his homeland on Sunday, but won’t be going for the double as he needs a rest.
Gilbert, who once dreamed of winning all of cycling’s five monuments has opted to put that dream on hold next week. Paris–Roubaix is one of only two monuments missing from Gilbert’s palmarès along with Milan–San Remo, as he has already won the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy. But after an epic, yet grueling victory in Flanders last Sunday and a hectic few weeks beforehand, he is in dire need of rest.
“Paris–Roubaix has a magnetic attraction on me, but I won’t be there this year,” said Gilbert in a statement on Quick-Step’s website. “I need to take a break, recover properly and then begin thinking of the Ardennes, where I’ll be part of a very strong team.”
Gilbert has been highly successful at the Ardennes classics these last few years, winning all three in 2011 while also claiming the Amstel Gold Race in 2010 and 2014. He has had a great start to 2017, winning the Three Days of De Panne last week and taking podium finishes at Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke.
But he says he will concentrate on a tilt at a second Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory rather than Paris–Roubaix—both are high-profile monument races. “I’ve only raced Roubaix once, back in 2007, and for a race like that you need experience,” added Gilbert.