Phinney, Gilbert scratch from Tour of Flanders

Gilbert will head for the Tour of the Basque Country; Phinney staying in Italy until Paris-Roubaix

World champion Philippe Gilbert and Taylor Phinney, both of BMC Racing, have scratched from the team’s roster for Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders).

According to a team press release, Gilbert is suffering from a minor cold and Phinney experienced pain above his right knee at Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

“We still have a good team with guys like Thor Hushovd and Greg Van Avermaet, who are our main leaders,” said director John Lelangue. “But we have also seen in E3-Harelbeke that Daniel Oss is very strong. And we have a good back-up team with Marcus Burghardt, Manuel Quinziato, and Michael Schär, and two teammates in Adam Blythe and Klaas Lodewyck who were already prepared to race. So we are still confident that we will be there in the final.”

Gilbert is targeting the Ardennes classics in April, which he swept in 2011.

“With my current condition, I know I cannot be successful at Flanders,” he said. “I want to give everything for the Ardennes classics, so I have decided to change my program and go to Vuelta al País Vasco to prepare. I need a stage race where I can go hard on the climbs. It’s always better for me to race than train because you can go much deeper in a race.”

Phinney is a two-time winner of the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and finished 15th in his debut at the “Hell of the North” in 2012.

“I’m confident if I stay at home in Italy and have a couple more days of recovery, I can be back 100 percent for Paris-Roubaix,” he said. “I could probably push through the injury but I wouldn’t be at my best. I would have to ride conservatively and that’s not the right position I want to be in for the team.”