Philippe Gilbert will aim to complete his set of five Monuments with victory in Milan - San Remo this spring, in what will be his final season as a professional.
The 39-year-old has raced professionally for the past two decades, winning four of the five Monuments. Il Lombardia was his first, taking back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010, before Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2011 and then a six-year wait for victory in the Tour of Flanders in 2017.
In 2019, he won Paris-Roubaix to move within one of the full set and join his compatriots Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck and Rik Van Looy as the only riders to have won all five races.
“I'm going for that missing win in Milan-San Remo," Gilbert told RTBF, "because I know how special a win in San Remo is. That gives an extra dimension to my career. However, I am not only focusing on this race. I know how difficult it is to win there."
While his Lotto-Soudal team-mate Caleb Ewan will combine the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in search of more Grand Tour stage wins, the Australian sprinter will also race Milan - San Remo, where he has finished runner-up twice in 2018 and 2021.
“My two earlier second places prove that I can come a long way in Milan-Sanremo," Ewan explained. "The team has helped me to prepare myself perfectly this winter, so I believe that we can deliver a top performance this year again.”
Gilbert will take on nine races in the run-up to San Remo, including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Paris-Nice. He will then take on the Flemish Classics before a potential final outing at the Tour de France, where he won the opening stage and took the yellow jersey in 2011.
“I am very motivated to end my career in a positive way”, Gilbert continued.
“It is nice to be able to do all the races in which I have had so many good moments once again. If I see how hard we have worked with all the team and everyone around it, I think we will have a very nice spring season.”
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