We know that Philippe Gilbert is old school when it comes to training. That was a shocking discovery that BMC’s Allan Peiper made when he came on board to raise the performance bar.
After Gilbert’s win in the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia (Hmm, the VCRM?) it was clear that late in his career, he’s also realized the benefits of teamwork. The Belgian’s post-race remarks made it sound as if he’s had a true moment of revelation, that he’s suddenly been hit by a lightening bolt.
“I won but it was really a win for the whole team,” Gilbert said. “We really raced perfectly together. I’ve done a lot of races but I’ve never really seen anything like this in my life. There were 20 guys left at the top of the climb with 20 kilometers to go and I was suffering, but I was still there with the guys. To have all seven of us out of 20 guys was really amazing to see.”
Gilbert is such a talented guy that he’s often won races with minimal support but for him to say “I’ve never really seen anything like this in my life” feels like he never really thought too much about the other 7-8 guys he eats dinner with every night. Yeah, they can help you win races, dude! Those guys in the red and black jerseys? — the ones with the letters B-M-C — they’re on your side!
Now, granted, it’s not every day your seven guys make the final selection of twenty. BMC rode a perfect race. Still, Gilbert spoke like a man who had either never seen excellent teamwork before or never realized the potential benefits.
“I took my chance in the sprint. So there was no way we were going to lose the race, either with Tejay winning solo or me in the sprint,” said Gilbert. “I want to thank all of my teammates because we really raced together and it was so nice.” Well, yes, nice is the word.
Perhaps we’re about to see a final transformation in Gilbert in the late stages of his career. Maybe, just maybe, he’s turning into Mark Cavendish — gushing about teammates, patting them on the back, praising them, giving them all the credit.
Is Philippe Gilbert about to get all huggy?