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a mud covered Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
Omega Pharma-Lotto leader disappointed after first race in Belgium
Philippe Gilbert won the Omloop Het Volk in 2006 and 2008, and hoped to add this year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to his palmares. But the Omega Pharma-Lotto captain finished a modest 43rd behind Sebastian Langeveld and admitted he “just wasn't good enough.”
Gilbert went into the opening race of the Belgian season with high hopes after winning the first stage of the Tour of the Algarve and holding the leader's jersey for two stages. However his teammate Jurgen Roelandts was the team's highest finisher, having joined a late break group.
“With 100km to go I told Roelandts he should take his own chance,” Gilbert told Het Nieuwsblad. “Once he was ahead, I didn't have to do anything else.”
Gilbert had lost his last two helpers, Marcel Sieberg and Frederik Willems, before the finale. “But even I soon realized I was not good enough,” he admitted.
“The best riders were up front,” Gilbert said. “Langeveld did it like I did in 2008: a 50km long attack. When the wind at the end is favourable, that is the best formula.”
Gilbert finished the race in the first large chase group, 5:05 down. Roelandts was ninth, at 1:30.