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Gilbert honored as "Boar of Ardennes" in Aywaille

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Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert led a fun ride from the wild animal park near his hometown of Aywaille.

Philippe Gilbert led a fun ride from the wild animal park near his hometown of Aywaille.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) signs autographs for his hometown fans

World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) signs autographs for his hometown fans
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert signs autographs in Aywaille, Belgium

Philippe Gilbert signs autographs in Aywaille, Belgium
(Image credit: AFP Photo)

World Champion Philippe Gilbert was honored at the Le Monde Sauvage de Remouchamps wild animal park in Aywaille today, being dubbed the "Boar of the Ardennes" for his resistance to cold and his attacking nature, in a nod to the many species of creatures at the venue.

It was a brisk day in the BMC rider's home town with temperatures nearing zero, but the wintery temperatures did not keep away the crowds, who lined up to join Gilbert on the 77km ride.

The event was a fundraiser for the supporters club of Gilbert, which runs youth development programs in the region.

Gilbert became the first Walloon world champion since Claude Criquielion in 1984 when he soloed to victory in Valkenburg in September.