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Gilbert fails to defend national title

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It's been a tough spring for Philippe Gilbert.

It's been a tough spring for Philippe Gilbert.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Fans reach out to console Philippe Gilbert on his loss.

Fans reach out to console Philippe Gilbert on his loss.
(Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) on the Stockeu.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) on the Stockeu.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert attacked just prior to the 1km to go banner and soloed to victory.

Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert attacked just prior to the 1km to go banner and soloed to victory.
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Future BMC teammates Philippe Gilbert and Cadel Evans see what's in store for them at the 2012 Tour de France.

Future BMC teammates Philippe Gilbert and Cadel Evans see what's in store for them at the 2012 Tour de France.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) missed the winning move in the Belgian championship road race on Sunday when Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) attacked with approximately 40km to go. Boonen went on to win the race from a select group and ahead of Kristof Goddaert (AG2R La Mondiale) and Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator).

The defending champion from 2011 failed to follow Boonen in the decisive moment and realised he was falling out of contention. "When I realised the bunch wasn’t going to bring the breakaway back I tried to close the gap solo" he said. Gilbert made little impression in reaching the leaders and had to concede his losses. "On the long straight it was impossible for one man to close the gap."

Gilbert eventually paid for his efforts and came across the finish in 54th place, 39 seconds down on the 2012 Belgian champion. It was another frustrating day for the rider who seemed almost unbeatable last season. The 2011 GP de Wallonie held in September was Gilbert’s most recent win.

Despite the disappointment of his race Gilbert was looking toward the start of the Tour de France in Liege. "It was important, with the Tour starting in a week, to do deep in the race". He will continue his preparation for the Tour where he has pledged his support to his team mate Cadel Evans in his bid to win his second Tour.