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PhilGil says no to Astana, gs breathes sigh of relief

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According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad there are only five teams left in the race to sign the best cyclist in the world - don't argue: my story, my rules - and Astana is not one of them. "The most important reason for us for signing somewhere is that Gilbert will have a good team around him, and that he can sign a three year deal", says Gilbert's manager Vincent Wathelet. Astana, for instance, can only offer Phil a two year deal. So no, Gilbert will not be meeting the Kazakhstan of the 21st century. Pity. It looks nice, albeit pretty empty.

Philippe Gilbert, Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty.

So where will he go? Well, there are five contenders left. Three of them make gs happy, two of them make gs want to find a corner to cry in. Which is bad, cause the nearest corner to my current position has a 1.5 meter high cactus in it. It's sharp and pointy. Trust me, I know.

Where was I? Oh, right. Five teams left: Quick Step, BMC, Team Sky, Lotto and Omega Pharma. You don't need me to tell you which give me sadface and which give me happyface, right?

The article questions whether Sky will have the dough to buy mister Phil, because they're also hunting down the Cavmeister. And he can't be cheap. He has a Peta to upkeep. Gilbert himself has previously stated that he prefers a Belgian project. Omega Pharma has previously stated that they want to become a general classification team - can you say JVDB? - so their odds may be off too. "We still have some time", says Wathelet. "On 1 August we will officially declare where his future lies."