What does it take to win a Classics race? As the Michigan Spring Classics start to loom ever more menacingly on the horizon, it’s a rather appropriate time to take a look at what it takes to win an early race.
After winning all three Ardennes Classics last year (Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallone), Philipe Gilbert seems to be a pretty good source of information. The reigning 2012 Belgian National Champion had a rough go this past Saturday after a flat tire yanked him out of a chase group filled with the elite favorites. Gilbert teamed with fellow BMC heavyweight Alessandro Ballan and Taylor Phinney to claw back an 18 man group that included race favorites Tom Boonen and Juan Antonio Flecha after his teammate, Thor Hushovd, was dropped. Boonen, Flecha and eventual winner Sep Vanmarke did end up staying away for a dramatic three-up spring at Omloop, but Gilbert and the other big names know the more important races are still to come.
Gilbert will focus on the monuments of cycling later in the spring, like the Ronde van Vlanderaan and Paris-Roubaix. He took a few minutes to talk to purecycling.com about what it takes to prepare for a Classics race. With Barry-Roubaix under 30 days away, the time to test the legs and the bikes is coming swiftly upon Michigan cyclists.
Enjoy this short video as Gilbert breaks down the aspects of winning a Classics race…