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Philippe Gilbert (left) was passed a half meter from the line by winner Peter Sagan. (©Sirotti.)
Philippe Gilbert (left) was passed a half meter from the line by winner Peter Sagan. (©Sirotti.)

BMC Racing Team's Gilbert Runner-Up At Brabantse Pijl

10. aprile 2013

Philippe Gilbert was edged out at the finish line Wednesday by Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), narrowly denying the BMC Racing Team rider his first victory of the season as reigning world road champion.

'It Was So Close'
Sagan sprinted around Gilbert's left shoulder in the final meters to take the win the 199.9-kilometer race. "I was confident for the sprint because I was already on his wheel the last five kilometers and I was very focused," Gilbert said. "It was so close." Winner of this race in 2011 and runner-up in 2008, Gilbert had received help from teammate Greg Van Avermaet to launch an attack with 18 km to go that split the peloton. With Gilbert marking Sagan in the final two kilometers, Van Avermaet followed a move by Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) before launching his own attack. But the fourth-place finisher at Paris-Roubaix was caught and passed on the final climb, setting up the sprint between Gilbert and Sagan. Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) finished third, three seconds later.

Van Avermaet Finishes Sixth
The result was Gilbert's second runner-up finish of the season, adding to the same placing in a bunch sprint finish on Stage 6 at Paris-Nice last month. "It is always better to win, but we did a great race and we played our cards in the final," Gilbert said. "It also gives a lot of confidence to the team and to myself as well. But it's always better to win, for sure." Van Avermaet would go on to place sixth, 12 seconds back, while teammate Danilo Wyss was 15th. "At the beginning of the race, I wasn't feeling so good," Van Avermaet said. "But after I attacked with Philippe on my wheel, I still had good legs. We did some good teamwork to attack there."

Confidence Boost
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the teamwork that was on display to set up the decisive moves of the race bodes well leading into the first of the Ardennes classics, Sunday's Amstel Gold Race. "Guys like Martin Kohler, Klaas Lodewyck, Danilo Wyss and Adam Blythe did a heck of a job protecting Phil and Greg and then launching them with two laps to go," he said. "I was really happy with what I saw today. We maybe didn't win, but most important is to come out of this race with confidence. We also showed we made the right choice to have Greg race here and at Paris-Roubaix and for Philippe to skip the Tour of Flanders and come here with good preparation from País Vasco."