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Gilbert says goodbye to BMC at Il Lombardia

Philippe Gilbert celebrates his Belgian title

Philippe Gilbert celebrates his Belgian title (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Philippe Gilbert was one of the last riders to sign on at the start of Il Lombardia in Como, getting a huge cheer as it was announced he was riding his last race with the BMC team.

The Belgian champion will ride for Etixx-QuickStep in 2017, ending an important five-year chapter of his career with BMC that included his world road race title in Valkenburg in 2012, 18 other victories, and a series of placings in many of the Classics.

He and Greg van Avermaet fought for team leadership in many of the Classics, with the Flandrian given his chances and Gilbert having to focus on the Ardennes Classics. They share team leadership one last time at Il Lombardia, with their rivalry likely to be far more visible out on the road in 2017 as they ride for different teams.