Gilbert nominated for Belgian male athlete of the year

Philippe Gilbert will look to defend his title as Belgian male athlete of the year. He has again been nominated for the award, which he won in 2009.

He will be up against two other male athletes, track runner Kevin Borlee and show jumper Philippe Le Jeune.

The award is to be announced December 19, at the Sportgala at the Casino in Oostende.

Gilbert won the award, which is voted by Belgian sports journalists, by an overwhelming majority last year. It was the third consecutive year that a cyclist had won, as cyclo-crosser Niels Albert won in 2008 and sprinter Tom Boonen in 2007.

The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider had six wins this season, starting in April when he became the first Belgian to win Amstel Gold Race in 16 years. Five weeks later he won the opening stage of the Tour of Belgium, wearing the leader's jersey for three days before ultimately ending up fourth overall.

His only Grand Tour in 2010 was the Vuelta a Espana, and it was highly successful. Gilbert won the third stage to take over the leader's jersey, which he held for four days. He then won again on the 19th stage, beating the sprinters in Toledo.

Gilbert was a top favourite for the world championships, but finished a disappointing 18th. He came back to finish off the season strongly, winning the Gran Piemonte and then the Giro di Lombardia for the second consecutive year.

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