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Gilbert named Belgian athlete of the year

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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) celebrates victory

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) celebrates victory
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert waves to fans

Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert waves to fans
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert powers to the finish line.

Philippe Gilbert powers to the finish line.
(Image credit: Elmar Krings)
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Philippe Gilbert on the velodrome

Philippe Gilbert on the velodrome
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on the podium.

Winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on the podium.
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Philiippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins the Grand Prix de Wallonie.

Philiippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins the Grand Prix de Wallonie.
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) finishes in Lombardia

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) finishes in Lombardia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had to settle for second overall.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had to settle for second overall.
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins in Quebec City

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins in Quebec City
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) races toward victory

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) races toward victory
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Runner-up Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) gives winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) a hand with the champagne.

Runner-up Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) gives winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) a hand with the champagne.
(Image credit: Susi Goetze for www.cyclinginside.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had time to savour his victory.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had time to savour his victory.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto)

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto)
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) en route to San Sebastian victory.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) en route to San Sebastian victory.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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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)
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 Philippe Gilbert and Ben Swift chat

Philippe Gilbert and Ben Swift chat
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.

Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Mountains leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Mountains leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) outsprints Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and points leader Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) for the stage victory.

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) outsprints Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and points leader Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) for the stage victory.
(Image credit: AFP)
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2011's Flèche Wallonne goes to a Walloon, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

2011's Flèche Wallonne goes to a Walloon, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Four wins in a row for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Four wins in a row for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Race winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) dons the yellow jersey.

Race winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) dons the yellow jersey.
(Image credit: Elmar Krings)
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Amstel Gold Race: A family affair for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

Amstel Gold Race: A family affair for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) flanked by Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo).

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) flanked by Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo).
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) celebrates his victory in the penultimate stage.

Race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) celebrates his victory in the penultimate stage.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) completes his hat-trick.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) completes his hat-trick.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Flèche Wallone: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) knows he has the win in the bag.

Flèche Wallone: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) knows he has the win in the bag.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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National hero Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lott) fights through the crowd

National hero Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lott) fights through the crowd
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Belgian champion and Grand Prix de Wallonie winner Philippe Gilbert.

Belgian champion and Grand Prix de Wallonie winner Philippe Gilbert.
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Clasica San Sebastian victory Philippe Gilbert celebrates with Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Jelle Vanendert.

Clasica San Sebastian victory Philippe Gilbert celebrates with Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Jelle Vanendert.
(Image credit: Dominic Schlerpf / cyclinginside.com)

Philippe Gilbert added another title to his superlative 2011 season, as he was named Belgian athlete of the year for the third consecutive year. He has received numerous other awards, including the Velo d'Or, and Cyclingnews readers voted him both Male Road Rider and all-around Rider of the Year.

The Belgian had 24 victories this season, including Fleche Wallonne, Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the first stage of the Tour de France, Clasica San Sebastian, and the Belgian national road and time trial titles.

Gilbert finished well ahead of brothers and track athletes Kevin and Jonathan Borlee, who were second and third.

“Such an election is always special and I'm very proud of this trophy,” he said, according to the Belga news agency.

“The fact that I beat  top athletes like Kevin and Jonathan Borlee proves once again that we have many international qualities here in Belgium, “ he said. He also expressed his condolences to the victims of last week's shooting incident in Liege. “That touched me deeply.”

The award had an extra meaning as his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Jelle Vanendert presented it to him.“The prize was very special precisely because Jelle handed it to me.  Jelle is not only a colleague but a real friend.”

After three years with Omega Pharma-Lotto, Gilbert will ride for BMC Racing Team in 2012.