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Stage 1 winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) dons the red jersey.
Bad weather and puncture cost him Tour of Belgium title
Philippe Gilbert of Omega Pharma-Lotto finished fourth overall in the Tour of Belgium and won the points jersey, but he had hoped to finish atop the podium. Bad luck with the weather in the time trial and lack of assistance with a puncture on Sunday cost him the overall title.
On Sunday's queen stage, he was in the day's escape group along with eventual stage winner Ben Hermans (RadioShack) and overall winner Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), when he punctured. The neutral assistance car was ahead of the group, so it could not help him.
"I think the race commissioners were more panicked than I was," Gilbert told Het Nieuwsblad. "I quickly hear from the team car that I would have to wait a long time for repairs." He was able to stay with the first chase group and finished third on the stage, 48 seconds down.
"This was a particularly serious problem by the organisation, " he said. "And a typical Belgian situation. "
Gilbert had already lost the race lead on Saturday. As the leader, he was the last to ride in the time trial, and rode it in heavy winds and rain. He finished 33rd on the stage, 56 seconds down. "The weather cost me about 40 seconds."
He took it all philosophically, though. "Sometimes it is written in the stars that you will win a race, but sometimes it is written that you will lose. That is sport. You learn to live with it. The strongest doesn't always win."
Gilbert will ride a local Belgian race on Tuesday, to be followed by the Tour de Suisse. "I have seen that there are four stages there which suit me. I am going for stage wins."