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Philippe Gilbert says goodbye at Paris-Tours

Race officials confirmed Thursday that retiring star Gilbert will be part of a deep start list for the autumn French classic on October 9.

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Philippe Gilbert says goodbye to professional racing at the 116th edition of Paris-Tours on October 9.

The Belgian joins a growing list of big-name riders retiring this season that also includes Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde, who both bow out at Il Lombardia. Richie Porte and Tom Dumoulin have already raced their final events.

Gilbert won back-to-back editions of the French classic in 2008-09 as he was making his name a force on the international circuit. Gilbert later won the world title in 2012 as well as four of cycling’s five monuments.

“Philippe Gilbert will pin on his last bib in a professional race, putting an end to an exceptional career as a chaser of classics,” race officials said Thursday.

Also read: The ‘retirement class of 2022’ keeps growing

Race officials confirmed Thursday that Gilbert will be part of a deep start list for the autumn French classic that begins in Chartres.

Defending champion Arnaud Démare returns, along with worlds podium finishers Christophe Laporte and Michael Matthews for the 2022 edition.

Other top names include Benoit Cosnefroy, Jasper Philipsen, Matteo Trentin, and Michal Kwiatkowski.

Other starters include Jasper Stuyven, Bryan Coquard, Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani, Stefan Küng, Alberto Bettiol, Magnus Cort Nielsen and Anthony Turgis.

The 213.5km race starts in Chartres and winds south and west toward the finishing in Tours. Winds can prove decisive, and the closing hour of racing is marked by a string of short but steep hills as well as sectors of gravel through vineyards.

The race is typically a tug-of-war between late-attacking riders and reduced chasing bunch in one of cycling’s longest-running one-day races that dates back to 1896.

Wind can be a factor in the course punctuated by climbs and gravel near Tours. (Map: ASO)