Belgians pin world championships hopes on Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert will lead Belgium's road team in Australia, with Stijn Devolder, Greg Van Avermaet and Bjorn Leukemans available.

One-day classic specialist Philippe Gilbert will be the point man for the Belgian team at the world road race championships later this month in Geelong, Australia, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old — a two-time winner of Paris-Tours and also winner of the Amstel Gold Race earlier this season — has shown he is in good form by wearing the overall leader’s red jersey for five days in the Vuelta a Espana.

Gilbert is joined in the nine-man team by four of his Omega Pharma teammates Mario Aerts, Jan Bakelants, Jurgen Roelandts and Greg Van Avermaet.

Frederik Willems, Stijn Devolder, Kevin De Weert and Bjorn Leukemans make up the rest of the line-up.

“We are hoping that nothing will happen to Gilbert, but I have nevertheless Devolder, Van Avermaet and Leukemans as a solution should Gilbert need to be replaced as leader,” said selector Carlo Bomans.

Belgium’s world championships teams:


Time trial: Dominique Cornu, Stijn Devolder

Road race: Mario Aerts, Jan Bakelants, Stijn Devolder, Kevin De Weert, Philippe Gilbert, Bjorn Leukemans, Jurgen Roelandts, Greg Van Avermaet, Frederik Willems


Time trial: Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Arthur Vanoverberghe

Road race: Laurens De Vreese, Yannick Eijssen, Arthur Vanoverberghe, Julien Vermote, Jelle Wallays


Time trial: Grace Verbeke

Road race: Lieselot Decroix, Liesbet De Vocht, Sofie De Vuyst, Ludivine Henrion, Grace Verbeke