Gilbert puts panache first in Tour de France

Philippe Gilbert happy for his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Andre Greipel

Philippe Gilbert happy for his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Andre Greipel (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Philippe Gilbert has again made a spectacle in the Tour de France, showing his class in the finale of stage 10 to Carmaux. After he instructed the few teammates he has left to accelerate on the last climb, he followed an attack by Tony Gallopin of Cofidis, and gave everything to make this breakaway a success during the last ten kilometres.

Gilbert was the last man caught, but his action paved the way for Andre Greipel's victory at the expense of arch-rival Mark Cavendish. Gilbert kept the green jersey but lost 28 points to runner up José Joaquin Rojas.

"Our tactic was to make the race hard at the end of the stage," Gilbert told Cyclingnews in Carmaux. "We wanted Cavendish to be dropped in the last hill. Greipel told us that he knew he would pass it with no problem.

"It was a short climb and we rode really fast. I found confidence in this action, so I attacked to make Cavendish's team to work. I even tried to win solo but it didn't happen. I didn't attack the other four guys who were with me," he said of race leader Thomas Voeckler, Gallopin, Quickstep's Dries Devenyns and HTC's Tony Martin. "They just didn't accompany me. I couldn't resist to the bunch but it's all good at the end because we get the stage win for Omega Pharma-Lotto, according to the plan."

The Belgian champion maintained that the green jersey isn't his priority compared to getting another stage win after the first one at the Mont des Alouettes in Vendée. "I haven't changed my attitude for the green jersey," he said. "I take it day by day. I don't snub the points' classification at all. At the hot spot sprint, I just follow the move to score some points. If it brings me the green jersey at the end, I'll be happy with it, but I've always thought that winning a stage is my priority. I love to win and I often do it with panache, so I won't start calculating points instead."

After his flamboyant finale, Gilbert still found physical resources to cross the line in fourteenth position, which awarded him another four points. That's part of his panache...


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