24 April 2011

Gilbert won in his backyard

Philippe Gilbert wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Today Philippe Gilbert secured his third win in the 2011 Ardennes Classics. Which means he won all three of the races in the series. Not since Italian Davide Rebellin in 2004 has this feat been accomplished (who was the first to accomplish the "triple"). Philippe Gilbert is a Walloon who grew up with these routes in his backyard. Today he raced through his village, nearby his hometown of Verviers. A proud and emotional day for Gilbert. 
Philippe Gilbert actually achieved a quadruple consecutive win by first winning the Brabantse Pijl on April 13, 2011, before being triumphant at the big three: Amstel Gold (April 17), Fleche Wallonne (April 20), Liege-Bastogne-Liege (April 24).

Today's race route of Liege-Bastogne-Liege
The locations of the 3 Ardennes Classic races near Gilbert's hometown
 click above maps to enlarge
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is considered an all-rounder, he is 28 years old and has been a professional cyclist since 2003. He has a very active fan club, supposedly he was sponsored by fans in his early career. This was his eighth Classics victory and his first win at La Doyenne.

Maybe it is time to start paying more attention to Canyon bikes.

To put things in perspective, Gilbert won all three of the Ardennes Classics within a 140 kilometer square area that would be similar in size to this area (image below) of the Colorado Rocky Mountains (Denver to Glenwood Springs). He knew those roads pretty well, and probably rode them continuously from a young age.