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Before his crash, world champion Philippe Gilbert was riding strongly. (©Sirotti.)
Before his crash, world champion Philippe Gilbert was riding strongly. (©Sirotti.)

Santambrogio Fourth; Gilbert Crashes At Il Lombardia

29. September 2012

BMC Racing Team's Mauro Santambrogio posted a season-best fourth place finish Saturday in a rain-soaked edition of Il Lombardia while fellow teammates Alessandro Ballan and world road champion Philippe Gilbert crashed on a rain-slickened descent and withdrew.

Van Avermaet Also Top 20
Santambrogio was part of a small group that chased solo winner Joaquin Rodriguez all the way to the line after the Katusha Team rider escaped on the final climb and soloed in nine seconds clear. "A few moments after the crashes on the Muro di Sormano, (BMC Racing Team Director Sportif) John Lelangue said on the radio I could ride for myself," Santambrogio said. "I was feeling pretty good and was one of the strongest guys in the chasing group. I'm satisfied with fourth place." Santambrogio's result was his best finish of the season and best result in six participations in the "race of the falling leaves." The BMC Racing Team's only other finisher was Greg Van Avermaet (17th), as only 54 of the 199 starters finished the race.

Gilbert: 'It's a Pity'
Gilbert had his first outing as world road champion end when he and Ballan fell in separate crashes about 70 kilometers from the finish of the 251 kilometer race. Gilbert said he had just regained contact with the front group when he crashed while going 60 kilometers an hour. "With the cold, I was feeling a bit paralyzed and, at the beginning, I was afraid because I couldn't move for one or two minutes and I was fearing there was something broken," Gilbert said. "Then I checked and saw everything was OK. So in the end, it's a pity because I had good feelings and could have maybe done something. But I'm feeling lucky I crashed now and not one week ago. If it had been a stage race, I think I wouldn't have abandoned. But today, after the crash, my race was over."

Morabito In One Breakaway
Lelangue said without the two crashes, the complexion of the race would have changed significantly. "Without this, we would have had five guys in the final and it would have been a different situation for Philippe," Lelangue said. "He was having a great time with the rainbow jersey and everything was going according to plan. We had good teamwork in the beginning and when a group of 60 riders went away, we had the whole team there. Then, in a group of 12, we were lucky to have Steve Morabito. So there was no pressure for us to ride. Then we stayed quiet until the Colma di Sormano, where we had the whole team gathering around Philippe and making tempo, just as we planned."

Medical Report
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said Gilbert has superficial abrasions on his right elbow, right shoulder and right knee but no major muscle problems, no broken bones and no concussion. "Right now it just looks he just has some bad road rash," Testa said. "Alessandro also has superficial abrasions and a muscular bruise on the right side. But he also does not have a concussion."

Click here to listen to complete comments from Gilbert (French), Lelangue (English), Santambrogio (Italian) and Dr. Testa (English) on the BMC Racing Team AudioLine.