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Gilbert surprised opponents in Giro's Anagni stage

Belgium's Philippe Gilbert delivered a surprise blast to the classification favourites in Saturday's Giro d'Italia stage to Anagni. The one-day race specialist used the rise into the city's centre to anticipate his rivals for the win.

"I saw on the first lap a good moment to attack, and I attacked in the in the same place. I had good legs, and knew I was good to try," said Gilbert.

The 2.7-kilometre climb came at the end of an 18.2-kilometre closing circuit. Gilbert jumped the likes of Danilo Di Luca, who wanted to try to grab the bonus seconds on offer for the overall classification.

Gilbert's win was the first by team Silence-Lotto in the 2009 edition, a race that teams Columbia-Highroad and LPR Brakes have dominated. The winner of 2008's Paris-Tours and Omloop Het Volk also captured his first win of the season Saturday.

"I began the Giro with the ambition to win one stage. I came close before and finished sixth, but that's not enough for me."

Gilbert told Cyclingnews last week that he continued in the Giro d'Italia only for his Italian director sportif Roberto Damiani. Damiani encouraged him to continue in order finish the three-week race in Rome.

"I was really tired after the mountain stages: I got better, then I got worse, and it was like this for close to 10 days. I said to myself that maybe it's time to go home.

"I stayed in the race, and now I'm really happy I did that."

The race ends with a 14.4-kilometre time trial on Sunday in Rome.

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