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Philippe Gilbert rode to his fourth top 10 finish at La Flèche Wallonne in the past five years. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Philippe Gilbert rode to his fourth top 10 finish at La Flèche Wallonne in the past five years. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Gilbert 10th at La Flèche Wallonne

23. aprile 2014

Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team finished 10th Wednesday at La Flèche Wallonne as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) won for the second time and continued a three-year streak of Spanish winners of the Belgian classic.

The Course:
Departing from Bastogne, the 199-kilometer race included three trips up the the Mur de Huy, a 1,300-meter climb that also doubles as the finish and features an average grade of 9.3 percent.

The Day's Breakaway:
Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) and Preben Van Heche (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) slipped the peloton after 20 km and enjoyed a maximum lead of 8:45. The BMC Racing Team assisted with the chase, which ended when the last of the trio – Navardauskas and Van Heche – were caught with 12 km to go.

A Late Escape:
Jérémy Roy ( attacked with seven kilometers left but was chased down by the Katusha Team and AG2R La Mondiale squads.

The Finish:
Valverde made his winning move with an attack in the final 200 meters and had time to celebrate ahead of runner-up Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and third-placed Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step.) Gilbert arrived 15 seconds after Valverde.

What Gilbert Said:
"It was a fast race from the start, with a tailwind. The team controlled the breakaways. The final was really fast. Katusha did a very aggressive race. I was really on the limit the last 10 or 15 kilometers. Because of this, I was not in the best position at the bottom of the last climb. I was thinking to get the points, I had to be top 10. So I had to fight very hard. At the end of the season, every point can be important. That is why I was giving my best."

What Sport Director Valerio Piva Said:
"We controlled the three riders in the breakaway and had other teams help us. So the race was in a good direction until the final. There was a crash at three kilometers and the group was a bit split. Philippe did not have the legs from Sunday and was not in a good position at the beginning of the Mur. The team did a good job and Philippe did the best he could do."

Listen to complete comments from Gilbert (in English and French) and Piva on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.