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Philippe Gilbert (center, in white) was never far from the front in the last hour of the race. (©Sirotti.)
Philippe Gilbert (center, in white) was never far from the front in the last hour of the race. (©Sirotti.)

Gilbert Seventh At Liège-Bastogne-Liège

21. April 2013

World road champion Philippe Gilbert finished a BMC Racing Team-best seventh Sunday at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Not Enough At The End
Gilbert was in a small group pursuing a half dozen riders who had gained an advantage over the final climb in the last five kilometers of the 261.5-km race that closed the spring classics season. "I was always believing we could come back," Gilbert said. "Vincenzo Nibali was doing a good job in our group. But when I saw Joaquim Rodriguez going in the last kilometer, I knew it was over for the win. But I was thinking maybe if we came back, I could be on the podium." Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) soloed to the win after catching Rodriguez (Katusha Team). Gilbert finished 18 seconds later to register his third top 10 result in four one-day races this month. "I missed a few percentages in the final," he said. "This was the difference between playing for the win. I have no regrets. We did a good job with the team. We were with seven guys after the Mont-Theux, which was a critical point of the race."

Teamwork Closed Gaps
Gilbert credited his teammates for bringing the race back together several times, including a concerted chase after the Côte de La Redoute that reeled in eight riders with 25 km to go. "We did a great job to close the gap," Gilbert said. "In the final, it was just a question of power and feeling. Like I said, I was missing some percent." BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue, while disappointed in the final outcome, said it was not for a lack of effort. "We were always there," he said. "It's better to at least always be there, than to not be there. When you are a sports director or a rider you are always disappointed after a race when you don't win. If you are not coming to a race to win it, then it's better to make another job."

Click here to listen to complete comments from Gilbert (Dutch, English and French), Lelangue (English and French) and Greg Van Avermaet (Dutch) on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.