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Philippe Gilbert received tremendous teamwork to achieve his best result of the season. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Philippe Gilbert received tremendous teamwork to achieve his best result of the season. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

Gilbert Sixth At Amstel Gold Race

15. aprile 2012

Philippe Gilbert said a sixth-place finish Sunday at the Amstel Gold Race – his best result of the season – is another indication of his return to form. The BMC Racing Team's Belgian national champion attacked on the steep, final climb but could not follow the winning move in the final few hundred meters.

'Reinforced My Confidence'
Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team) edged out Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol Team) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) to take the win while Gilbert faded after chasing hard from the bottom of the Cauberg to catch Oscar Freire, who made a solo bid in the final seven kilometers of the 256.5 km race. Gilbert said he felt good from the start and informed his teammates with 50 km to go that he was up to trying to win the race for the third straight time. "This is the kind of race where it's better to be in front so that's why we rode and took our responsibility," Gilbert said. "I am satisfied and I've reinforced my confidence because it is famous that the guys in the top 10 of Amstel finish in the top 10 of Liege. So I'm more optimistic now." BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue agreed. "We saw his condition coming gradually and it's almost fixed. But we still have one week to work on it for Liege."

Future Looks Bright
Gilbert received valuable assistance from his teammates throughout the race, particularly as the they worked to bring back nine riders who were away nearly the entire day. One of those doing the work, Greg Van Avermaet, said Gilbert's result bodes well for the remaining two Ardennes classics on Wednesday (Flèche-Wallonne) and next Sunday (Liège–Bastogne–Liège). "Phil told me he was on good shape again so there no problem to work for him," Van Avermaet said. "Santamabrogio also did great work. The whole team tried to move him (Gilbert) into position on the last climb." Lelangue said he was proud of the way the BMC Racing Team took leadership of the race. "We took our responsibility from the beginning," Lelangue said. "Everybody worked – Martin Kohler, Manuel Quinziato, Santambrogio and Greg, who was strong but sacrificed himself for Phil and was there for the finish. So that's very good."

Evans Recovering From Illness
Defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans withdrew from the race after 180 km, saying he had not fully recovered from an illness that has slowed him the past 10 days. "I wasn't sure if I was going to be good here or not," Evans said. "I wasn't good enough to be competitive and wasn't able to help the guys in the final today. My first priority is to get healthy, which will be hard to do with these weather conditions and hard racing. But hopefully I'll come around, may be for Flèche or Liège and at least to be useful for the team. For me personally, I want to be good for Romandie."

Click here to listen to post-race comments on the BMC Racing Team AudioLine.