Philippe Gilbert Wins Fourth Classic in Two Weeks Powering to Victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2011
Team Omega Pharma-Lotto's Philippe Gilbert shook off brothers Frank and Andy Schleck in an uphill sprint to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2011 classic earlier today in Belgium, his fourth classic victory in two weeks.
Team Omega Pharma-Lotto's Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) won his fourth cycling classic victory in 10 days when he triumphed in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2011 race earlier today.
Gilbert, already the winner of the Fleche Brabanconne, Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne, finished ahead of Frank Schleck of Luxembourg and Schleck's brother and teammate Andy Schleck - both from Team Leopard-Trek.
The three riders broke away on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, with 20 kilometers to go, and dropped Team BMC Racing's Belgian Greg Van Avermaet, who had made an earlier break, on the Cote de Saint-Nicolas.
Gilbert outsprinted the Schleck brothers at the finish to become Belgium's first winner of the race in twelve years.
"This was the most beautiful day of my sporting career so far," the 28-year-old Gilbert told Roadcycling.com and our mobile sister site Roadcycling.mobi in the finish zone and added "Hats off to the Schlecks, they really tried to keep me under control and they shouldered their responsibilities in the breakaway, which meant we could drop Van Avermaet.
"They played the game right up until the last moment and they were the only riders I was really scared could beat me."
Frank Schleck put a brave face on defeat by saying: "We've got no regrets."
"It was a bit disappointing in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, everybody was racing against [Leopard team mate and favourite] Fabian Cancellara. We didn't want to do that. We were racing to win, not to make Philippe lose, so we went hard and worked together when we were in the break."
"There was nothing we could do," Andy Schleck added and continued "he was just too strong."
Gilbert became the second rider to pull off the so-called Ardennes triple, winning the Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in one week, after Davide Rebellin of Italy in 2004.
"It's been an incredible seven days and I knew that today was the most important," Gilbert said.
"I couldn't afford to make any mistakes, and staying concentrated was the key to it all."
Complete 2011 Liege-Bastogne-Liege results.