Belgium national champion and the winner of the 2017 edition of the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race, Philippe Gilbert has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne and Sunday’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège. In 2011, Gilbert accomplished the Ardennes triple winning Amstel, Flèche and Liège.
On Sunday, Gilbert won his fourth Amstel Gold Race title but a crash earlier in the race left him sore. Following the podium ceremony and the press conference, Gilbert was taken to the hospital for medical examination. Following the crash, he felt pain on the high right side but was able to ride out the race instigating the race winning move and then outsprinting Milan-Sanremo winner Michal Kwiatkowski for the win.
“When I crashed, I felt pain, but once I remounted and continued the race things became better and better and the pain disappeared,” the 34-year-old who has been enjoying an amazing season explained. “Unfortunately, after the finish, the lower back pain returned, so together with the team doctor, I decided to go to the hospital for a check-up. Fortunately, it’s nothing serious, and if everything goes well, in a week I will start training again.”
At the hospital, Gilbert was diagnosed with a minor right kidney tear which will require a week of complete rest and recovery. The period of rest will force Gilbert to skip the Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
Speaking about his successful spring campaign, Gilbert said, “”It’s one of my best years and looking behind on what I achieved makes me very happy. To be competitive in both the cobbled and the Ardennes Classics and to help the team be the best in the world brings me a lot of satisfaction.”
The premature end of the campaign is disappointing but Gilbert took the blow in stride. “It’s sad I won’t be there for the remaining races of this week because I was in great condition, but our squad is a strong one and I’m confident other good results will follow.”