Gilbert Runner-Up At Tour Du Haut Var22. February 2015 — Road Team
On the strength of a runner-up finish in Sunday's final stage, BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert (center) placed runner-up overall to Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale) at the Tour du Haut Var. (©Sirotti.)
Gilbert followed up his third place in Saturday's rain-soaked stage with second place behind Luka Mezgec (Team Giant-Alpecin) in the 194.7-kilometer race that was run under sunny skies and warmer temperatures. He also took home the points classification title of the two-day race.
The past world road champion said he received good help from several teammates down the stretch. First, Amaël Moinard worked hard over the top of the final climb to help Gilbert's group stay away. Then, Brent Bookwalter attacked in the last five kilometers. Still, Mezgec and a few others were able to rejoin the leading group.
"It is too bad he came back with four or five kilometers to go," Gilbert said. "If Mezgec doesn't come back, I have an even better chance to win. But all of the guys were working well and then Joey Rosskopf really helped me in the sprint by doing a nice lead-out.
"This result is good for my confidence because it is a good result in a hard race."
Gilbert's runner-up placing in the stage and the overall were the BMC Racing Team's sixth and seventh second-place finishes of the season, to go along with two victories (both by Rohan Dennis at the Santos Tour Down Under) and four third-place results.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said he took some positives away from weekend.
"Of course for us, most important is the victory," Ledanois said. "But this is not bad for Philippe. This shows he is ready for the classics. He is at a good level and he has had good recovery after his small health problem that kept him out of Trofeo Laigueglia."
Bookwalter, who finished sixth, was the BMC Racing Team's other rider in the top 10 on the final stage.