Gilbert was just one of dozens of riders who crashed on the rain-slickened roads around Nice at the start of the Tour. And he even managed to finish the stage, but when tests revealed that he had actually broken his knee-cap, he was forced to abandon. Returning quickly to training, Gilbert raced in the Tour of Luxembourg and has been racing in the BinckBank Tour this week. But as the pain continued he once again was forced to abandon, and now has announced that he will not be racing in the upcoming classics like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, both races he has won in recent years.
“I quickly got back on the bike after my crash on August 29,” Gilbert said in an official press release by his Lotto-Soudal team today. “Maybe I started again too soon, but the rehab was going well, the motivation and morale were still there, and I really wanted to race. I resumed in the Tour du Luxembourg but I still felt pain. This pain became more prominent in the first stage of the BinckBank Tour. I then realized that I couldn’t be at my best at the Tour of Flanders and at Paris-Roubaix. These races are even more demanding on the body, the body must be 100 percent ready.”
But while Gilbert’s classics campaign is over, he still hopes to race before the end of the season. Returning to Monaco, he will follow an intensive rehabilitation program under the supervision of the medical staff of Lotto-Soudal.
“My first priority is to heal completely. I still have a lot of goals in cycling, for next season certainly, but very maybe for this season as well. Hopefully, a Tour of Spain participation is still possible, but that’s not yet relevant. What matters now is a full recovery.”