Gilbert Solos To Win In Wallonie27. July 2015, Namur (BEL) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert had time to freewheel his BMC teammachine SLR01 across the finish line and raise one arm in celebration Monday as he captured Stage 3 of the Tour de Wallonie.
Gilbert attacked in the final 800 meters of the uphill climb to the finish at the end of the 207-kilometer race. He soloed in four seconds ahead of Pieter Serry (Etixx-Quick Step), who won a reduced bunch sprint ahead of Thomas Sprengers (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise).
"I have done this finish a few times," Gilbert said. "I think I have won two or three times before here and been second twice and once fifth, when it was a Giro d'Italia stage (in 2006). So I knew the final really well."
It was Gilbert's second win in the past six days. The 2012 world road champion had been sidelined by a knee injury since June 16 when he withdrew from the Tour de Suisse before Stage 3. But last week, in his first race back, Gilbert won a bunch sprint finish at Grand Prix Cerami.
"Now my knee is OK and in my head that is a big win," he said. "I feel free. It is easier on the bike. And when you have success, you want more. So when you are in a good mood like this, you hope to keep winning. So now I hope I can get a win like this on the WorldTour so we can get some points."
Before Gilbert's heroics, the BMC Racing Team worked hard to help reel in five riders from the day's breakaway.
"Loïc Vliegen and I had to ride pretty hard to get the last guy back because over the last climb, he still had 20 seconds," Marcus Burghart said. "Before that, Jempy Drucker and Peter Velits were doing the work and Rick Zabel was leading us out to a tricky downhill. Alessandro De Marchi was also putting in hard pulls as well for the last climb on the flat. So it was a pretty good team effort."
With two days of the race to go, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) still leads, having won a two-up sprint on Stage 1 by more than a minute ahead of the peloton. Vliegen climbed from seventh to fourth in the overall standings by finishing 14th, 10 seconds back of Gilbert. He is 42 seconds behind.
"What was important for us today was the victory," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said. "As I said from the first day, it will be difficult to beat Terpstra. He is a strong rider and he was in the front again today in the final. So the GC (general classification) will be difficult. But we will keep trying and trying to win more stages."
Drucker kept the lead he took on Sunday in the intermediate sprints classification … Gilbert's fourth victory of the year ties him for the BMC Racing Team lead with Greg Van Avermaet … This was the BMC Racing Team's 21st win on the season.
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See photos from the race.