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Philippe Gilbert (left) joined winner Florian Vachon (center) and runner-up Michal Golas on the podium. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Philippe Gilbert (left) joined winner Florian Vachon (center) and runner-up Michal Golas on the podium. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Gilbert Third At Classic Sud Ardèche

1. March 2014

BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert opened his European racing season Saturday with third place at Classic Sud Ardèche.

Good Teamwork To Chase Late Escape
Gilbert avoided a crash in one of the last turns of the 194.8-kilometer race to finish behind winner Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) and runner-up Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). "I knew it was important to make that turn in the first position because it was very narrow, with a bad road and a lot of risk," Gilbert said. "I made the turn in fifth but one of first guys crashed, so I had to brake. It was the same for everybody – we all had to brake. So the winner was the guy who shifted the fastest to have the right gear and start again, because after the corner it was less than 200 meters." Earlier, the past world road champion had been part of a group of a dozen riders who got a gap inside of 30 km to go. But Gilbert said the situation was not to his liking. "I looked behind and saw Quick Step chasing with a group of about 40 guys, so I decided to save some power because I knew they were going to come back," he said. After a group of six escaped with about 20 km to go, the BMC Racing Team went to work to help with the chase. Ben Hermans combined with Tour du Haut Var Stage 2 winner Amaël Moinard and past Olympic road champion Samuel Sánchez to make the catch as the race reached the final kilometer. "It was good job by Ben, Amaël and Samuel to work hard in the last 10 kilometers for Philippe," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said. "They were working well together." Gilbert's result was his best on the season, improving on an eighth-place result in the individual time trial at the Tour of Qatar.

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

Listen to complete comments from Gilbert and Ledanois on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.