Philippe Gilbert has said not making Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s selection for the upcoming Tour de France is a “great disappointmnent”, with the Belgian missing out on what would have been his tenth French Grand Tour.
Philippe Gilbert said: “It’s with great disappointment I have to announce that I will not be participating in this year’s Tour de France. After my crash and early exit I was very motivated to return this year. It would have been my 10th Tour, but unfortunately I will have to postpone those plans.”
However, seems to be taking the decision in his stride, saying he will be willing his team-mates on to victory in July: “In the next few weeks I will be the team’s number one supporter. I wish all my teammates the best of luck and I am confident that the guys will bring home some nice results.”
The 36-year-old, who will now miss out on a Grand Départ from the capital city of his native Belgium, is out of contract at the end of the season and is yet to sign a renewal with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Julian Alaphilippe, who was instrumental alongside Gilbert in delivering the Belgian outfit multiple successes during the spring, recently signed a new two-year deal with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, while Zdeněk Štybar also renewed his contract.
The futures of both Gilbert and Viviani hang in the balance, although Viviani will get the chance to prove his worth at the Tour, who will be looking to add Grand Tour stage wins to his five Giro d’Italia victories and three Vuelta a España wins.
Completing the Deceuninck line-up at the Tour will be Enric Mas, Michael Mørkøv, Max Richeze, Dries Devenyns, Belgium road race champion Yves Lampaert and Kasper Asgreen.
Asgreen will be making his Tour debut after a 2019 that would have made it difficult for team bosses to ignore the 24-year-old Dane. He won a stage and the points classification at the Tour of California and came runner-up behind Alberto Bettiol at the Tour of Flanders.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step will go to the Tour with two goals, to pick up stage wins with the Italian champion Elia Viviani while also supporting Julian Alaphilippe in his quest to defend the king of the mountains classification while also attacking the lumpier parcours in search of stage victories.