The Belgian is aiming for a return to racing at one-day Classic Paris-Tours

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) says he is hoping for a return to racing before the end of the 2018 season after breaking his knee cap in a scary crash at the Tour de France in July.

The former world champion crashed with around 60km remaining on stage 16 of the Tour to Bagnères-de-Luchon, which was eventually won by his team-mate Julian Alaphilippe.

After attacking solo on the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, Gilbert attempted on the descent to extend his lead over the other breakaway riders behind, but misjudged a left corner and locked up his bike before crashing over the roadside wall and being thrown into a ravine on the other side.

Fortunately, the Belgian was quickly up on his feet and back at the roadside where he was checked over by medical staff. After giving a thumbs up to the camera, he got back on his bike and continued the stage, drifting back to the main peloton.

Scans after the stage revealed he had broken his left knee-cap however, forcing Gilbert to abandon the race before stage 17.

The 36-year-old released a video on Wednesday showing he had returned to light training on the turbo trainer as he continues his recovery.

Philippe Gilbert after a crash on stage 16 of the 2018 Tour de France (ASO)

No timeline has been given by his team for a return, but Gilbert hopes to be fit in time for an appearance at Paris-Tours on October 7, though admits it will be “complicated” to return to full form in time.

Gilbert won two back to back editions of the French one-day Classic in 2008 and 2009, with the route altered this year with dirt roads through vineyards featuring in the final 60km of the race.

Paris-Tours is often a fast fought race thanks to a tailwind in the course direction at that time of year, and often culminates in a late breakaway sprint or a bunch finish.

“My dream would be to be at the start of Paris-Tours because it’s been 10 years since I won their for the first time, it was the first big race I won in my life,” Gilbert said.

“I still have time, but it’s going to be complicated. The form really starts to go downhill [during injury] and I will have to work a lot to come back.”