Philippe Gilbert's family was following his win in Paris-Tours on TV yesterday. His parents and brother were anxiously watching the final kilometres, hoping for a better outcome than in previous editions. Gilbert was in good moves in the past, but got caught close before the finish.
His parents followed the action at home. "It was just the two of us watching the race. We knew he would attack. But the last kilometres were hard to follow, as we didn't want to re-live the scenarios from the last couple of years on that course," Gilbert's mom told La Dernière Heure.
Philippe Gilbert's parents didn't believe in the victory until their son crossed the line with his arms in the air. "Then we had tears of joy in our eyes. Like I have had every time he wins a big race. His two victories at Het Volk, obviously, but also after his very first victory, in the regional championships of the beginners, in Manhaihant."
Father Jeannot couldn't sit still. "I screamed 'Go! Go! Go!'," he smiled. In the end the peloton was so close. I was annoyed when I saw him with Pozzato. He shouldn't have gone with him..." Last year, Gilbert, Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) and Karsten Kroon (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) were in a promising move, but got caught with 500m to go. Pozzato had refused to work in the end, which doomed the move.
Philippe Gilbert's brother Jérôme watched the race at home with his girlfriend. "How stressful, but how joyful!" he summed up the race. "I was calculating with my watch. With Philippe, after the races, we often calculate the seconds he would need at certain points in the course. Here, he had 13 seconds before the last climb, and he would need ten at the top."
Jérôme Gilbert was confident then. "With his attack, when he left Pozzato and Freire behind, I knew it was possible. Especially with the work by Delage... I knew it was good."
The family then got together at the Cheval Blanc (White horse) tavern in Remouchamps. It was a long night of celebrating, Jérôme explained. "There was champagne... One thing is clear, we didn't sleep!"