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Philippe Gilbert (right) gutted out his first podium place of the season. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)
Philippe Gilbert (right) gutted out his first podium place of the season. (©BMC/Tim de Waele.)

BMC Racing Team's Gilbert Third At Flèche Wallonne

18. April 2012

Philippe Gilbert continued his climb up the results Wednesday with third place at Flèche Wallonne, his best performance of the season for the BMC Racing Team.

Looking Ahead To Liège
The Belgian national champion and the rest of the peloton could not match an acceleration by race winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) in the last 300 meters of the steep, twisting climb of the Huy. Gilbert rolled across four seconds later, just behind Michael Albasini (GreenEDGE Cycling Team) and ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol). The winner here a year ago, Gilbert said his result was an encouraging sign. "I've come from a long ways down so I am satisfied to be back at this level," he said. "Being on the podium is nice, but most important is a victory. Today, Rodriguez was the deserving winner." Gilbert said he's not making much of his mathematical progression of improving results – from 12th a week ago at Brabantse Pijl, to sixth on Sunday at Amstel Gold Race, to third on Wednesday. "The number three can't be divided, so we'll see what can happen Sunday at Liège-Bastogne-Liège," he said. "I think that the weather plays into my favor. I can stand the cold, maybe more than the Italian or Spanish riders. So that can be an advantage for me."

Great Teamwork
In achieving another podium finish in one of cycling's "monument" races, the BMC Racing Team added to third place finishes at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix (both by Alessandro Ballan). "In critical moments, the teamwork was great," BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said of the 194 km race that featured periodic rain showers and windy conditions. "We proved one more time that we were there and could make the race. We didn't want to control it completely to preserve the guys a little bit for Sunday, which will be even longer and more difficult. It also gives Phil and Greg Van Avermaet more confidence."

Click here to more post-race comments from Gilbert and Lelangue in several languages on the BMC Racing Team AudioLine.

Click here to view photos from the race.