25 March 2017
Two captains on one ship. Two world champions. Two legends in the cycling world. Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen are the Belgium classic experts. Still they are both in their thirties and they are not getting any younger. But they do have a lot of experience. And that might just help them to what they want this year. They have different goals, but the same ambition. They want to win a Spring classic. Some might think that it is time for some fresh and young riders in the classics. But I don’t agree on that point. Of course, talents are great to watch and they bring some sort of excitement with them. But I am always glad to spot an ‘oldie’ in the front of the field. It means experience. It means that the game has begun. We all know that in three weeks the career of Tom Boonen will be done and dusted. We will then also know if we can call him the only ‘Monsieur Paris-Roubaix’. Because that is his goal this year. That is his only goal. Winning Paris-Roubaix for the fifth time would be the crown on his career. He got so close last year, so he knows that everyone will watch him this year. Where is Tom? What will he do? It will not be easy, I think it might be his hardest Paris-Roubaix ever. Still, he is confident enough that he can win ‘his’ classic one more time.
Philippe Gilbert will not be in that race to help his friend. His goal is to win the Amstel Gold Race or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He thinks he can pull that off another time, because he is motivated. It still frustrates him that Liège-Bastogne-Liège is only one time on his palmares. It is almost in his backyard. He grew up there. Now that he is getting older, he knows that the chances to win there another time are getting tight. It will get hard, but he has a lot of experience. And that experience is just what you need in the classics.
Two captains on one ship. Two friends. They are not young and reckless anymore, they have become old and wise. The question is if these two legends can become even more legendary than they already are.
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