Philippe Gilbert walks off from the Tour of Oman 2012
UCI top ranked cyclist for the previous season, Philippe Gilbert will not ride the Tour of Oman mainly because of the rising temperature in the Asian continent.
The cyclist was seen struggling during the Tour of Qatar and as most of the riders are lining up for the Tour of Oman, the Belgian has returned back to Europe.
Gilbert finished at the 75th position during the opening stage of the Qatar race and achieved the 46th overall position after the stage 2 classifications.
His sixteenth place finish during the 146.5 kilometre stage 3 of the race helped him with the 20th overall position.
The Team Sky cyclist struggled during the fourth stage of the race and finished at the 74th position during the race.
The Team Sky cyclist dropped five positions in the overall classifications after the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar.
His 50th and 40th stage finishes during the fifth and the sixth stages could not take him any higher than the 22nd overall place at the race.
It appears as if the rising temperature is the only reason behind Gilbert’s struggling form at the race.
Tuttobiciweb quoted him as saying, “In Oman it’s five degrees more than in Qatar. You’re riding in 30° heat and I’m worried about the effects of the change in temperature when I get back to Europe. You come back too close to Het Nieuwsblad and the risk of getting ill is high”.
The 29-year-old had a terrific previous 2011 season and scored as many as 698 UCI points to claim the top position at the UCI World Tour Rankings.
The cyclist filled his pockets with a number of victories, including the overall victories at the Tour of Belgium, Ster ZLM Toer, National Road Race Championships and the National Time Trial Championships.
He also secured the top podium position during the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne, Clasica de San Sebastian, Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and the GP de Wallonie 2011.
On commenting about his new year plans, Gilbert said, “I prefer to come back straight away, get used to the cold in Europe and then race the Tour du Haut Var on February 18 and 19 so that I’m ready for the start of the northern classics season”.
The cyclist is yet to start his 2012 season and he will be seen in action in Europe pretty soon, as a number of cycling fans await his new year debut in the following month.