World champion Philippe Gilbert has extended his contract with BMC Racing, the team announced on Tuesday. The Belgian 2012 Liège–Bastogne–Liège winner extended through 2016 with the American team.
“After the Tour de France, he will focus on the one-day ProTour [sic] races and his defense of his world championship title,” BMC Racing president Jim Ochowicz said in a press release. “Our future years together offer many opportunities to capture victories in his favorite races.”
With two stages in the Vuelta a España, Gilbert has won twice in BMC colors since joining the team in 2012. Fresh off his historic sweep of the Ardennes classics when he signed with BMC Racing in late 2011, Gilbert, who lives in Monaco, became on of the most highly paid riders in the peloton. That original contract was set to expire after the 2014 season.
“Most important are the classics,” he said. “I have a really strong team for this, so I will focus in the future on them. I think the one-day races are my specialty.”
Among those one-day targets is the UCI Elite Road World Championships in Florence, Italy, in September, where, Gilbert said, he will aim to repeat his road race title.
“For sure it’s a big goal,” he said. “I’m already starting to think about this. My ambition is to finish this Tour with good condition and then go to the Vuelta and come better again.”