Road Worlds: Elite Mens won by Philippe Gilbert

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert wins the World Road Race Title in Holland whilst GB’s Tour of Britain winner, Jonathon Tiernan-Locke is best Brit in 19th

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Philippe Gilbert saves his season with biggest win of the year at the Road Worlds. Picture: PhotoSport International. uk usa asia.

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert won the UCI world championship road race Sunday with an attack up the Cauberg climb in The Netherlands to become the fourth world road champion on the BMC Racing Team.

Gilbert followed the attacked of Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the early part of the 1,200-meter climb before launching his own attack that opened up a gap that grew increasingly large as he topped the summit, 1.7 kilometers from the finish line of the 267.4 km race. The double stage winner at the Vuelta a España had enough time to celebrate as he rolled in four seconds ahead of runner-up Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling) of Norway. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) of Spain was third. Gilbert follows in the footsteps of the BMC Racing Team’s previous world road champions: Alessandro Ballan of Italy (2008), Cadel Evans of Australia (2009) and Thor Hushovd of Norway (2010).

Gilbert credited his teammates, who included BMC Racing Team’s Greg Van Avermaet, for helping him score the biggest win of his 10-year professional career. “The whole team did a really good job,” he said. “I was well-placed at the bottom of the Cauberg and while I knew I didn’t immediately have a huge gap, I had a good feeling because I’ve won the Amstel Gold Race here. Plus, there was a tailwind, so that was good.” A past Belgian national road and time trial champion, Gilbert was the No. 1 ranked rider in the world in 2011 but had struggled to find the same form this season. He finished third at Flèche Wallonne in April and scored four top 10 finishes at the Tour de France before his victories on Stages 9 and 19 at the Vuelta.

“I went on the steepest part of the Cauberg and totally focused on my effort” Gilbert added. It wasn’t until 200 metres to go that I saw the win was there. I really enjoyed all the fans and knew my family and friends are here. A fantastic feeling. It’s hard to realize I’m the world champion. I’ll be wearing the jersey for the first time in Piemonte, that’s going to be a great moment.”

“The whole team took it’s responsibility after missing to get into the first breakaway. It wasn’t a perfect situation. A group of about six was allowed to go and there were no riders from Spain or Italy in it. It turned out different. A group of 39 formed with just two Belgian riders. That wasn’t good. Then we really had to push to close the gap. It’s been a difficult season but the team had faith in me. I’m very thankful because my transfer was a big one for BMC. We didn’t win the TTT because of a mistake at the Cauberg. We should’ve taken that title.”

“Defeat makes you stronger, so having three months that weren’t that good is not a bad thing. I had three goals this year. Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race, the Olympic road race and the worlds. Didn’t do too bad I think. My form was good after the Tour where I worked for my teammates. I built up towards the Olympics and found real strength in the Vuelta. I won two stages with a similar finish as in Valkenburg. So that gave me confidence.”

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz, who watched the race on-site in Valkenburg, said Gilbert’s victory is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment that was many months in the making. “This showed the faith he had in us, coming to our team, and the faith we had in bringing him on as well,” Ochowicz said. “As a group, we supported each other through sometimes difficult moments. But in the end, being a world champion is one of the greatest rewards that can be bestowed upon an athlete.” Gilbert’s world title added to a silver medal he won last Sunday with the BMC Racing Team in the team time trial.

BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Gilbert remained focused on the world road race throughout the season, knowing it suited him well. “After the beginning of the season that we all know, he stayed concentrated during the Tour de France and the Belgian national time trial championships before the Vuelta,” he said. “From then on, he was totally focusing on this. He did a great Vuelta preparation and came to the team time trial in great condition. He’s had this race on his mind since the beginning of the season. We knew with good preparation and a good team around him, he could do it.” Lelangue said he spent the days leading up to Sunday’s race in The Netherlands checking on the preparation of Gilbert and the BMC Racing Team’s other nine riders in the race – eight of whom finished.

BMC Racing Team sponsor Andy Rihs was also at the race to celebrate and nearly lost his voice cheering Gilbert on to victory. “It was the dream we hoped about and it happened,” he said. “I’m so happy for Philippe. When you have a hope to do something and it happens, it’s the best feeling in the world. Nobody is more happy than all the members of the team – the BMC manufacturers and dealers, the riders on the BMC Racing Team and of course, the entire organization. This is such a merited reward. Four world champions in the team. Think about that for a moment. It’s a champions team.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Norway, silver medal “I’m very happy with the silver medal. I was a bit far back when Phil attacked and it was impossible to follow. I hoped some guys would close the gap and we could sprint in a small group. But it was just me, Valverde and Kolobnev. This is the best I could do so I’m satisfied. The course was less difficult then expected because of the wind at our backs. I thought it would be harder at least. Do I want a more prominent role in the road races next year? I’m happy with my role in the team (Sky). I do what I’m told and get my opportunity’s in the spring classics. No, I wouldn’t want it to change.”

Alejandro Valverde, Spain, bronze medal. “After Phil’s attack it wasn’t possible to do anything. I knew Phil was going to win. I had Kolobnev and Boasson Hagen with me. So I knew it would be silver or bronze. Maybe I should’ve attacked sooner, but that wasn’t in our team’s plan. But I’m happy. It’s a medal for my country. There was no time to regroup, the distance to the finish-line was too short to bring Oscar Freire (10th) back. The plan in the last lap was to work and prepare the sprint for Freire. I never saw Rodriguez and really don’t know what happened. He left for the bus immediately.”

1 GILBERT Philippe, Belgium 6:10:41 +0
2 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald, Norway, 6:10:45 +4
3 VALVERDE Alejandro, SPain 6:10:46 +5
4 DEGENKOLB John ” ”
5 BOOM Lars ” ”
6 DAVIS Allan ” ”
7 VOECKLER Thomas ” ”
8 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas ” ”
9 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis ” ”
10 FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar ” ”

12 BOONEN Tom ” ”
14 SAGAN Peter ” ”
19 TIERNAN-LOCKE Jonathan, Great Britain ” ”
29 NIBALI Vincenzo ” ”
33 MARTIN Daniel ” ”
34 ROCHE Nicolas ” ”
36 STANNARD Ian Great Britain +53
38 CONTADORAlberto ” ”
41 SANCHEZ Samuel +1:37
44 MANDRI Rene EST19840120 +2:21
60 SWIFT Ben< Great Britain
70 CUMMINGS Stephen Great Britain
88 ROWE Luke Great Britain +5:46

Under 23 Men’s
1. LUTSENKO Alexey KAZ 4:20:15
2. COQUARD Bryan France
3. VAN ASBROECK Tom Belgium

50. EDMONDSON Joshua Great Britain
97. THWAITES Scott Great Britain
108 YATES Simon Great Britain 9 +3:34

Women’s Elite
1 VOS Marianne Holland
2 NEYLAN Rachel Australia +10
3 LONGO Elisa Italy +18

15 POOLEY Emma Great Britain @4.37
39 LAWS Sharon Great Britain @4.58
60 COOKE Nicole Great Britain
66 HARRIS Nikki Great Britain


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