Gilbert voted Belgian male athlete of the year

Omega Pharma-Lotto rider repeats honour

Philippe Gilbert took a final victory in the 2010 season, defending his title as Belgian male athlete of the year. “I'm athlete of the year of a small country, but one with many strong athletes,” he told

The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider opened his successful year by winning Amstel Gold Race in April. He then won the first stage of the Tour of Belgium and wore the leader's jersey for three days.

Gilbert skipped the Tour de France, and came back strong again in the fall. The win in the third stage of the Vuelta a España gave him the leader's jersey, which he held on to for five stages, and he then won the 19th stage.

Topping off his traditionally powerful autumn, he won the Gran Piemonte before taking his second consecutive Giro di Lombardia.

Tennis player Kim Clijsters was female athlete of the year. The awards, which were voted by Belgian sports journalists, were awarded Sunday in Oostende.

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