Belgium Champion and current UCI WorldTour leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has announced plans to race at the two races in Canada later this year, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal and Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. The two races, the only UCI WorldTour races held in North America, will be held on September 9 and September 11, 2011.
For the first time since 2007, Gilbert will skip the Vuelta a España to focus on WorldTour races with an eye on the winning the WorldTour standings.
“I will not stay number 1 of the world after the Tour.” Gilbert told La Dernière Heure. “So I will try to regain the top in the second half of the season. It would be fantastic to be world champion as a classic specialist.”
Typically, Gilbert used the Vuelta to prepare for the World Road Championships, but with the Copenhaguen course benefiting sprinters, the Belgian is targeting other goals.
In addition to the two Canadian races, Gilbert has plans to take on, the Clasica San Sebastian on July 30, the Eneco Tour from August 8 to 14, the Vattenfal Cyclassics on August 21, the Grand Prix de Plouay on August 28.