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Belgian awards to Gilbert and Bruyneel

Gilbert won Paris-Tours and now the 'Kristallen Fiets'

Gilbert won Paris-Tours and now the 'Kristallen Fiets' (Image credit: JF Quenet)

Philippe Gilbert has been named Belgian Cyclist of the year, winning the 'Kristallen Fiets' award for 2008 Wednesday evening. Johan Bruyneel of Team Astana was named best team director, Mario Aerts as best domestique and Jan Bakelants as best young rider.

Gilbert rode for Française des Jeux from 2002 through this season, changing to Silence-Lotto as of 2009. This year the Belgian had five wins, including Paris-Tours and Omloop Het Volk.

The 26-year-old said that he owed the award to "the panache with which I ride, the fact that I can ride the whole season without a break and my availability to the press."

Gilbert was voted the winner ahead of Stijn Devolder and Tom Boonen, both of Team Quick Step. Last year, the honours of the 'Kristallen Fiets' went to cyclo-cross 'Cannibal' Sven Nys.

Johan Bruyneel, who led Alberto Contador to victory in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España this year, won the award for the fifth time. He said, "With Astana the 2008 season started out hard, but finished beautifully."

The award for best helper went to Mario Aerts of Silence-Lotto, ahead of Wim Vansevenant and Sebastien Rosseler. He was honoured for his work for captain Cadel Evans in the Tour de France, as well as his eighth place in the Olympic road race in Beijing.

Jan Bakelants, 22, was named best young rider. He will ride for Topsport Vlaanderen in the coming season. This year he won the Tour de l'Avenir, Liège-Bastogne-Liège Espoirs and Circuit des Ardennes. He narrowly beat out Niels Albert, with Tosh Van der Sande finishing third.

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