Gilbert honoured as Belgium's best rider

Tour of Lombardy winner Philippe Gilbert uncorks the bubbly in Como.

Tour of Lombardy winner Philippe Gilbert uncorks the bubbly in Como. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)

Following his most successful season to date, Belgian Philippe Gilbert was honoured with the coveted Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bike) for the third year in a row.

The prize is awarded to the best Belgian rider of the year by the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

Gilbert outpaced his own teammate Jurgen Van den Broeck in the voting, netting 676 points to Van den Broeck's 456. Sprinter Tom Boonen was a distant third with 204, while Bjorn Leukemans and Sven Nys rounded out the top five.

Omega Pharma-Lotto also claimed the best manager prize with Marc Sergeant, while newcomer Yannick Eijssen took the award for best young rider.

Gilbert's award follows the Flandrien Trofee, the rider of the year prize awarded by Het Nieuwsblad.

"Another prize," joked Gilbert at the ceremony in Brussels Midi on Wednesday. "It's becoming a habit! It is always nice, of course. But I'm actually thinking more of 2011 than on what I've accomplished in 2010."

The list of what Gilbert accomplished this year was impressive: podium finishes in Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen were followed by a pre-announced victory at the Amstel Gold Race.

Gilbert returned after his mid-season break to two stage wins and five days in the leader's jersey at the Vuelta a Espana, and while his world championship bid went unfulfilled, wins in the Gran Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia closed out the season on a high note.

The goals for the Belgian still are yet to be completed, however. With five classics already under his belt (Paris-Tours 2008, 2009, Giro di Lombardia 2009, 2010 and Amstel Gold 2010), Gilbert has an eye on completing the set.

"I still have dreams. Scoring the classics which I have not won yet for example. The Tour of Flanders, Liège - Bastogne - Liège, Milan-San Remo and why not Paris-Roubaix? I look forward to a possible duel with Tom Boonen in the Tour of Flanders," he said.

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