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Philippe Gilbert (facing camera) received congratulations from teammate Samuel Sánchez after winning for the second time in four days. (©Wouter Roosenboom.)
Philippe Gilbert (facing camera) received congratulations from teammate Samuel Sánchez after winning for the second time in four days. (©Wouter Roosenboom.)

Gilbert Wins To Regain Lead At Ster ZLM Toer

21. June 2014

BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert soloed to win Saturday's fourth stage of the Ster ZLM Toer and regained the overall lead with a day to go.

Help From Teammates
Gilbert won for the second time in four days by capitalizing on the help of teammates like Ben Hermans and Samuel Sánchez, BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said. Hermans bridged to a breakaway to force other teams to chase while Sánchez set up Gilbert's winning attack. "Samuel guided Philippe like he did in Amstel," Piva said. "In the last kilometers, he made an attack and then Philippe went and arrived alone with a gap." Gilbert, who won Wednesday's prologue by one second, crossed the line at the end of the 186.7-kilometer race three seconds ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) and six seconds in front of Paul Martens (Belkin Pro Cycling Team). With only Sunday's mostly flat, 173.7-km stage remaining, Gilbert leads Wellens by 12 seconds and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) by 18. "This was a nice win, but it was not an easy day, Gilbert said. "With the headwinds on the climbs, it was not easy to make the difference."

Fourth Win Of The Year
Racing through the Ardennes on a course that included the famed climbs of the Col du Rosier and the Cote de la Redoute, Hermans bridged to a seven-man breakaway, forcing then-race leader Marcel Kittel's Team Giant-Shimano squad to chase, along with Meersman's Omega Pharma-Quick Step team. "We decided to ride full gas the last two laps of the finishing circuit," Gilbert said. "Samuel did an amazing job, similar to what he did on the Cauberg at Amstel. He went as fast as he could and I just finished the last part of the climb alone." After scoring his fourth win of the season, Gilbert also donned the red jersey as leader of the points classification. Already a two-time winner of this race in 2009 and 2011, Gilbert said the victory was all the better since it came in his home region. "It is always nice to ride on my home roads – especially when I win," he said. "I knew a lot of people cheering along the route and this is a moment I will never forget."