Philippe Gilbert Soloes to World Champion Title
Belgium's Philippe Gilbert earlier today won the 2012 UCI World Championship Road Race with an impressive solo attack up the legendary Cauberg climb in The Netherlands.
BMC Racing Team rider Gilbert followed the attack of Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the early part of the 1,200-meter climb before launching his own attack that opened up a gap that grew increasingly large as he topped the summit, 1.7 kilometers from the finish line of the 267.4 km race.
The double stage winner at this year's Vuelta a España had enough time to celebrate as he rolled across the finish line four seconds ahead of silver medalist Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling) of Norway. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) of Spain took the bronze medal. Gilbert follows in the footsteps of the BMC Racing Team's previous world road champions: Alessandro Ballan of Italy (2008), Cadel Evans of Australia (2009) and Thor Hushovd of Norway (2010).
Commenting on his race victory Gilbert focused on the performance of his Belgian teammates who helped him secure his greatest win in his career so far.
"The whole team did a really good job. I was well-placed at the bottom of the Cauberg and while I knew I didn't immediately have a huge gap, I had a good feeling because I've won the Amstel Gold Race here. Plus, there was a tailwind, so that was good."
Boasson Hagen was pleased with his silver medal, but also sad to have gotten so close to the gold medal without winning it. "It was very good to get second place, but we were close to gold."
"Gabriel (Rasch) and Lars-Petter (Nordhaug) rode well and did a great job for me and I am very grateful. Gilbert was very strong today though and there was nothing I could do."
Third place finisher Valverde called it "Another bronze medal for my collection." and promised to keep fighting for gold in the coming years "Someday I will add a golden one."
A past Belgian national road and time trial champion, Gilbert was the Number 1 ranked rider in the world in 2011, but has struggled to find the same form this season. He finished third at Flèche Wallonne in April and scored four top 10 finishes at the Tour de France before his victories in stage 9 and 19 of this year's Vuelta a Espana.
Commenting on Gilbert's World Champion title BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz, who watched the race on-site in Valkenburg, said "As a group, we supported each other through sometimes difficult moments. But in the end, being a world champion is one of the greatest rewards that can be bestowed upon an athlete."
Gilbert's world title added to a silver medal he won last Sunday with the BMC Racing Team in the team time trial.
Watch video highlights from the 2012 UCI cycling world championships in our videos section (U.S.-only due to geo broadcast rights restrictions.