Gilbert finally wins his national title

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) finally got to pull on the iconic Belgian national champion’s jersey after another masterful display of racing in the Elite men’s road race in Hooglede Gits.

Gilbert was a marked man on the largely flat course but rode an aggressive race to win alone a few seconds ahead of Gianni Meersman (FDJ) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen). Tom Boonen (Quick Step) finished seventh after sitting up and giving up following his last-ditched pursuit. 2010 champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil) was sixth despite claiming to be out of form.

Gilbert had finished second in four editions of the Belgian national championships but was unbeatable in the scorching hot conditions. He must surely be the favourite to win the uphill finish of next Saturday’s opening stage of the Tour de France.

"It's fantastic to have won - I can’t believe I have this beautiful jersey,” Gilbert said after pulling on the red, yellow and black jersey.

"But I’ve got to share this victory with my team. We made the race difficult to force a selection. When Wellens went on the attack, I encouraged people to start a chase. Landbouwkrediet was the first team to sacrifice a few riders. Then I continued to push my teammates.”

“At one point, we were in front with a good group. Boonen and Devolder had been able to join us but I was convinced that it would be hard to make a difference, especially with the high speed. But when I looked around I saw that a lot of riders were tired. Then I knew it was my job to finish off the job on the last lap."

“I am proud to have this jersey but I’d like the exchange at the start of the Tour for the yellow jersey.”

Decisive attack

Gilbert split the race and formed the decisive break of the day with almost 100km to go.

On a long curved section of road, he dragged 14 riders clear, forcing Boonen and Devolder to go deep to get across with two others. That created an 18-rider front group. For everyone else, including Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard), the race was over.

Despite several of his rivals tying attacks, the front of the race stayed together and the race looked set to finish in a sprint. However Gilbert attacked hard on a section of cobbles just two kilometres out. He got a gap with a huge effort and not even Boonen could get across to him.

He then held off the chasers and had time to savour his success as he crossed the line.

After his victories in the Ardennes Classics and the Tour of Belgium, now Gilbert has the Belgian national champion’s jersey. His next goals are the yellow jersey at the Tour de France and then the rainbow jersey at the world championships.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto5:19:38
2Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJ0:00:02
3Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 2 - Cell 2
4Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 3 - Cell 2
5Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:00:04
6Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:08
8Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly Belly0:00:13
9Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:00:16
10Fabio Polazzi (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole0:00:18
11Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:00:19
12Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:00:26
13Kenny De Haes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:33
14Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:01:06
15Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:01:26
16Julien Vermote (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:01:52
17Olivier Pardini (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole0:02:30
18Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 17 - Cell 2
19Andy Cappelle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:02:33
22Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Steven Caethoven (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:02:36
24Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:02:38
25Frederik Willems (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 24 - Cell 2
26Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:02:40
27Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:57
29Geert Verheyen (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 28 - Cell 2
30Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 29 - Cell 2
31Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:03:01
32Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:03:25
33Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) HTC-HighroadRow 32 - Cell 2
34Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 33 - Cell 2
35Philippe Legrand (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit AgricoleRow 34 - Cell 2
36Justin Van Hoecke (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit Agricole0:04:58
37Olivier Chevalier (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit AgricoleRow 36 - Cell 2
38Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 37 - Cell 2
39James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 38 - Cell 2
40Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit AgricoleRow 39 - Cell 2
41Rudy Rouet (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit AgricoleRow 40 - Cell 2
42Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Bart Dockx (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 43 - Cell 2
45Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 44 - Cell 2
46Kevin Peeters (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 45 - Cell 2
47Frederique Robert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 47 - Cell 2
49Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 48 - Cell 2
50Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Jonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles - Credit AgricoleRow 50 - Cell 2
52Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP - PowerplusRow 51 - Cell 2
53Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 52 - Cell 2
54Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 53 - Cell 2
55Grégory Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 54 - Cell 2
56Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 55 - Cell 2
57Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 56 - Cell 2
58Steven De Neef (Bel) Jong Vlaanderen - BauknechtRow 57 - Cell 2
59Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 58 - Cell 2
60Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 59 - Cell 2
61Davy Commeyne (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 60 - Cell 2
62Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 61 - Cell 2
63Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 62 - Cell 2
64Sven Van Den Houte (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 63 - Cell 2
65Wim De Vocht (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 64 - Cell 2
66Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Maarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 66 - Cell 2
68Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 67 - Cell 2
69Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - FideaRow 68 - Cell 2
70Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 69 - Cell 2
71Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel)Row 70 - Cell 2
72Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - RevorRow 71 - Cell 2
73Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 72 - Cell 2
74Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - ShimanoRow 74 - Cell 2
76Bart Aernouts (Bel)Row 75 - Cell 2
77Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP - PowerplusRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 77 - Cell 2
79Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean KellyRow 78 - Cell 2
80Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Katusha TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
82Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet - FideaRow 81 - Cell 2
83Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 82 - Cell 2
84Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShackRow 83 - Cell 2
85Joeri Stallaert (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 84 - Cell 2
86Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 86 - Cell 2
88Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 87 - Cell 2
89Bert De Waele (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 88 - Cell 2
90Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Stijn Joseph (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 90 - Cell 2
92Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 92 - Cell 2
94Koen Barbe (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 93 - Cell 2
95Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 94 - Cell 2
96Sven Nys (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 95 - Cell 2
97Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
98Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Donckers Koffie - Jelly BellyRow 97 - Cell 2
99Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 99 - Cell 2

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