Three days have passed since Philippe Gilbert held his bike triumphantly over his head before crossing the finish line at Ronde van Vlaanderen. Gilbert's audacious attack from 56 kilometres out saw him take the win, after the team previously grabbed the race by the horns on the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen.
The win brought the squad its 15th Monument victory and at the same time realised several personal milestones, from becoming the first Belgian Champion in nine years to conquer De Ronde to joining the elite club of riders who won cobbled and hilly Monuments over their career. Indeed, Gilbert doesn't want to stop there and talked immediately after the finish about his desire to win all five of the monuments of cycling in his career.
He has already won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Giro d'Lombardia (twice) and now the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but will not take a shot at Paris-Roubaix this weekend.
Together with the team, the decision was made to not ride the 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix, the season's third Monument, so he can instead focus on the Ardennes Classics, scheduled in the second part of the month. Gilbert has been in a red-hot run of form recently and explained the thinking behind skipping Roubaix this time around.
"Paris-Roubaix has a magnetic attraction on me, but I won't be there this year," said the 34-year-old. "I need to take a break, recover properly and then begin thinking of the Ardennes, where I'll be part of a very strong team, together with Julian (Alaphillipe) and Dan (Martin)".
"Besides that, I've only raced Roubaix once, back in 2007, and for a race like that you need experience. Tom needs all the support he can get in his final attempt there, as a strong team is a very important factor in Paris-Roubaix, and I wish him all the best."
Quick-Step Floors' CEO, Patrick Lefevere, echoed the Belgian champion's sentiments.
"Immediately after his splendid Flanders win, the temptation of lining up Philippe at the start was big," said Lefevre, "especially as he too was thinking of this. But we sat down, thought this through and decided it's better for him to rest a bit and then return to training for the Ardennes campaign, where his experience and power will be very helpful."
Philippe Gilbert's next race will be April 12 at Brabantse Pijl, which he has won on two occasions (2011 and 2014).