Gilbert Will Start Liège-Bastogne-Liège17. December 2017, Chaudfontaine (BEL) — Road Team
The BMC Racing Team's roster for Liège-Bastogne-Liège will include past winner Philippe Gilbert, who is recovering from a crash Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne.
"Day-by-day, Philippe seems a little bit better," Sport Director Valerio Piva said Friday at the BMC Racing Team's pre-race press conference. "Of course this is not the best preparation and the best approach to a race like Liège. We will see in the next days and in the race what Philippe will be able to do. He is a fighter."
Gilbert, who won the Belgian WorldTour race in 2011, thanked BMC Racing Team staff for helping get him and his equipment ready for Sunday's 253-kilometer race.
"When everything is right, you don't see so much of the work they are doing," Gilbert said. "But now you really appreciate the help and the support you get. Every hard day it is getting better because we work well together. I know I will not be on my best on Sunday because I don't think it is possible. But at least I will be at the start and then we will see."
Piva said Tejay van Garderen will also enjoyed protected status. Winner of a stage of the Volta a Catalunya last month, van Garderen is making his first appearance in Liège-Bastogne-Liège since 2012.
"I feel good, I feel prepared and motivated," van Garderen said. "It was a bit of a blow to see so many crashes on Wednesday from a lot of our stronger guys, especially Philippe. I still have faith that he is going to have a good ride on Sunday. For sure we will be there in the final. When you have all of this adrenaline and when he (Gilbert) is on his home roads going by the house he grew up in, he is not even going to feel the pain. I think he will be able to push through it."
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Jim Ochowicz (USA)
Valerio Piva (ITA)
Chief Communications Officer:
Georges Lüchinger (LIE)
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