“My season so far hasn’t been great, I must admit it. A medal could help forget all the disappointment,” Gilbert was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
For Gilbert, illness, injuries and problems adapting to his new team have conspired to make it a year hard to forget.
“I’m not the same rider as at the start of the classics season. I’m kind of back to last year’s level. I didn’t have great results, but my condition was good,” he said.
According to Gilbert, the biggest challenge for his team might come from Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish should the race turn into a bunch sprint.
“I think if we attack in the final part we lose. We must make the race quite nervous, or at least try to make it nervous. (With) just five people we can’t control the race. Let’s hope that the other teams like Spain or Italy can make things hard,” he said.
Gilbert will ride in Saturday’s race as a member of the star-studded five-man team alongside with Greg Van Avermaet, Jurgen Roelandts, Stijn Vandenbergh and Tom Boonen.
“I talked with Tom (Boonen). Everybody has his own ambitions, of course, but we understand that the team is more important. It would be a catastrophe if we don’t race together,” he said.
The men’s road race will take place July 28 and cover 250 km, the longest route in Olympic history.