Philippe Gilbert presented with 2011 WorldTour trophy by Pat McQuaid
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Philippe Gilbert presented with 2011 WorldTour trophy by Pat McQuaid

by Ben Atkins at 1:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian champion takes season-long competition by a distance ahead of Tour de France winner Cadel Evans

Philippe GilbertIn the latest in a series of awards for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), the Belgian champion was officially presented with the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour trophy by UCI president Pat McQuaid at the 5th Peace and Sport International Forum in Monaco. Gilbert won the UCI’s season-long flagship competition by a considerable margin, thanks to a number of masterful displays in the one-day Classics, and a consistency that saw him winning from February to September.

"I am very pleased to receive this award, this season is a dream!” said the Belgian champion as he accepted the glass trophy. “I started the year with two goals in mind, grab this title of World number one and to take great victories in the Classics.

“Winning this award is the culmination of a great battle,” he explained. “At one moment I was the leader, then Cadel Evans [BMC Racing] passed me after his victory in the Tour [de France]; finally thanks to my victory in Canada, I assured my leading position in the ranking.”

By the end of the season, following what to Gilbert was a slightly disappointing eighth place in Il Lombardia, the Belgian had amassed a total of 718 points, some 144 ahead of Evans in second place, and 247 clear of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) in third place. His total eclipsed that of 2010 series winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who scored 551.

“So I achieved my goals this year,” Gilbert continued, “with my three successive victories in Ardennes and also there were some nice surprises, such as my stage victory in the Tour, near my hometown in Liege, which allowed me to wear the yellow jersey and my title of Belgian Champion which will be a good motivator at the beginning of next season. The year 2011 will be an unforgettable season, full of successes and surprises!"

Gilbert scored victories in the Clásica San Sebastian, the GP Cycliste de Québec, and took a stage victory in the Tour de France, but it was his incredible Ardennes triple, where he won the Amstel Gold Race, la Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the space of a week, that was the real making of his incredible season.

He has also recently been presented with the Flandrien Trofee, presented by Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad to the rider of the year, and was awarded the Velo d’Or by French magazine Velo.

"We are proud to give this award to Philippe Gilbert who achieved a great season this year, including the victory of 5 Pro Tour races and a stage in the Tour de France,” said UCI president Pat McQuaid. “The UCI WorldTour is a high-level competition, with the World's best riders and the top teams, winning the final ranking is a great performance.

“I think it's a great opportunity to organise this ceremony during the Forum of Peace and Sport,” McQuaid explained, “because sport must be active in other areas, and Philippe Gilbert is a good ambassador on his bike and also away from the races. For example, during the Junior conference organized by the UCI two days before the world championship on the road, he spoke to young cyclists, it is important that an athlete understand this dimension of spokesman."

Gilbert will leave the Omega Pharma-Lotto team – which will become Lotto-Ridley in 2012 – at the end of the year to join Tour winner Evans at BMC Racing.


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