News – Philippe Gilbert Wins Ster ZLM Toer Prologue


Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team was under a second faster than four other riders in winning the prologue at the Ster ZLM Toer

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News – Philippe Gilbert Wins Ster ZLM Toer Prologue

It was Gilbert’s first victory in a prologue in his professional career that began in 2003. It also marked his first win in an individual time trial since capturing the Belgian national time trial crown in 2011.

“It was a special day,” Gilbert said. “I had to really keep my focus because there were so many distractions.” Twice the race had to be stopped: first after a home on the route caught fire and later after Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen) hit a spectator who was crossing the street.

“For the prologue, you have to eat at the right moment and warm-up at the right moment,” Gilbert said. “So it was hard for me to stay focused. But I think I was going really fast at the beginning and was able to hold on to the finish. It was really close.”

It was Gilbert’s third victory of the season, adding to back-to-back wins at Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl in a four-day span in April. He also won the points classification of the Baloise Tour of Belgium earlier this month while finishing fourth overall and was king of the mountains at the Tour de Picardie last month.

Gilbert averaged 48.743 kilometers an hour on his BMC bike along the 7.2-km course. His winning time of 8:37.72 was .45 seconds better than runner-up Dylan van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp), .72 seconds faster than Albert Timmer (Team Giant-Shimano), .90 seconds faster than Steven Lammertink (Cyclingteam Jo Piels) and 1.13 seconds faster than Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano).

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said he was impressed with how well Gilbert kept his composure. “He was very motivated to do a good result and, in the end, that was the difference,” Piva said. “Plus, it was not easy to beat riders like Kittel and other specialists of the time trial.” Twice a winner of this race, Gilbert said holding onto the overall lead is not essential – but staying close is important.

He won by two seconds over Niki Terpstra in 2009 and by three seconds – over Terpstra again – in 2011. “It is always close,” Gilbert said. “I know every second counts at this race. I am really happy to be leading, but it is not a big objective to keep the jersey. But I really need to have it after we have the Ardennes stage on Saturday.”

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