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Gilbert's victory was the eighth of the season for the BMC Racing Team. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Gilbert's victory was the eighth of the season for the BMC Racing Team. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

BMC Racing Team's Gilbert Wins Brabantse Pijl

16. April 2014

Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team won his first race of the season Wednesday, holding off Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE) in a two-up sprint at Brabantse Pijl.

The Right Moment
Winner of this race in 2011 and runner-up last year, Gilbert earned the victory with a throw of his BMC teammachine SLR01 as Matthews attempted to come around him on the uphill dash to the finish. "Matthews was the fastest, but I played it well because he had to close the gap to (Bjorn) Leukemans and (Wouter) Poels in the descent and that cost him power," Gilbert said. "I also saw he was closed in in the last corner, but I waited, because I knew from the last times (up the climb), I didn't want to make the same mistake. It was perfect." After Gilbert and Matthews, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) was third.

Solo Pursuit
With 21 kilometers left in the 203.1-km race, Gilbert attacked to bridge a 15-second gap to a small breakaway. His solo effort lasted nine kilometers, but less than two minutes after he joined the escapees, the peloton closed down the move. "I had to choose between waiting or trying and I tried," Gilbert said. "Alone against seven riders is not easy with a headwind. And when I came back, the peloton came also back. Eventually it was a performance for nothing; but you never know."

Good Teamwork
Sport Director Max Sciandri said he was impressed by the teamwork on display around Gilbert. Inside of 50 km to go, the BMC Racing Team took to the front to pursue what remained of a six-man breakaway. "We showed we were the strongest team and, in particular, Philippe showed he was way stronger than a lot of other people," Sciandri said. "He won a great sprint. He moved the team around pretty well and also made a great move himself. It's quite dangerous to stay out there for seven or eight kilometers after 180. But he got the job done."

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team Flickr gallery.

Listen to complete comments from Gilbert (in Dutch and French) and Sciandri on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.