Gilbert downbeat about Amstel chances

Fri, 13 Apr 13:07:00 2012

Philippe Gilbert is aiming to become just the second cyclist in the 47-year history of the Amstel Gold Race to win the event three times on Sunday, but is sceptical on his chances.

2012 Philippe Gilbert BMC - 0

The Belgian has won the event in each of the last two years but has yet to win a race this season.

The 29-year-old, who also won Fleche Wallonne and Liege–Bastogne–Liege in 2011 to claim all three Ardennes Classics, has been short on form since joining BMC but shown a glimmer of improvement with 12th place in Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday.

But he is relatively pessimistic about his chances of completing a hat-trick.

He said: "With my current shape I won't be able to follow the best riders. I'll have to anticipate their attacks, but with my name, I won't be allowed freedom.

"Don't forget, I have not always been winning races. There are many reasons, like changing teams after a mentally and physically though year. It's only human to rebound like this."

The 256.5km route in the Limburg region is peppered with 31 climbs, including three ascents of the often decisive Cauberg.

Whilst the Flanders cobbles favour the strong men, the Ardennes are suited to the punchy climbers and the likes of Joaquim Rodriguez, Peter Sagan, Alejandro Valverde, Simon Gerrans, Samuel Sanchez, Damiano Cunego, Vincenzo Nibali and Tour de France champion Cadel Evans are the race favourites.

Most wins – Riders

5 Jan Raas (NED) 1977,1978,1979,1980,1982

2 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1973,1975

2 Gerrie Knetemann (NED) 1974,1985

2 Rolf Järmann (SUI) 1993,1998

2 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) 2010,2011

Most wins – Countries

17 Netherlands

11 Belgium

5 Italy

3 Switzerland

3 Germany

2 France

1 Australia

1 Denmark

1 Kazakhstan

1 Luxembourg

1 Russia

Back-to-back wins

4 Jan Raas (NED) 1977-1980

2 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) 2010-2011

Most podium finishes

7 Jan Raas (NED)

7 Michael Boogerd (NED)

4 Joop Zoetemelk (NED)

3 Eddy Merckx (BEL)

3 Gerrie Knetemann (NED)

3 Steven Rooks (NED)

3 Johan Museeuw (BEL)

3 Danilo Di Luca (ITA)

2 Harrie Steevens (NED)

2 Roger Rosiers (BEL)

2 Frans Verbeeck (BEL)

2 Walter Planckaert (BEL)

2 Freddy Maertens (BEL)

2 Fons De Wolf (BEL)

2 Claude Criquielion (BEL)

2 Jelle Nijdam (NED)

2 Beat Zberg (SUI)

2 Rolf Järmann (SUI)

2 Lance Armstrong (USA)

2 Michele Bartoli (ITA)

2 Davide Rebellin (ITA)

2 Fränk Schleck (LUX)

2 Sergei Ivanov (RUS)

2 Philippe Gilbert (BEL)

Most finishes

15 Maarten den Bakker (NED)

14 Joop Zoetemelk (NED)

14 Mauro Gianetti (SUI)

14 Johan Museeuw (BEL)

13 Hennie Kuiper (NED)

13 Davide Rebellin (ITA)

13 Sergei Ivanov (RUS)

12 Rolf Aldag (GER)

12 Michael Boogerd (NED)

12 Óscar Freire (ESP)

Oldest winners

40 years - 143 days Joop Zoetemelk (NED) 1987

34-052 Gerrie Knetemann (NED) 1985

34-045 Sergei Ivanov (RUS) 2009

33-344 Jean Stablinsky (FRA) 1966

33-023 Bjarne Riis (DEN) 1997

32-253 Davide Rebellin (ITA) 2004

32-084 Rolf Järmann (SUI) 1998

32-012 Olaf Ludwig (GER) 1992

31-336 Michele Bartoli (ITA) 2002

31-037 Mauro Gianetti (SUI) 1995

Youngest winners

23 years - 038 days Gerrie Knetemann (NED) 1974

23-129 Jacques Hanegraaf (NED) 1984

23-147 Harrie Steevens (NED) 1968

23-192 Georges Pintens (BEL) 1970

23-353 Walter Planckaert (BEL) 1972

24-043 Freddy Maertens (BEL) 1976

24-152 Jan Raas (NED) 1977

24-251 Jelle Nijdam (NED) 1988

25-034 Phil Anderson (AUS) 1983

25-137 Jan Raas (NED) 1978

Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account