Critérium du Dauphiné: Gilbert goes close on stage three
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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Critérium du Dauphiné: Gilbert goes close on stage three

by Shane Stokes at 12:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
BMC Racing Team rider complains about Belgian media

Philippe GilbertIt seems inconceivable that the most successful rider of last season, Philippe Gilbert, is still trying to land his first victory of the 2012 season but that is how things stand at present. Gilbert, who had won nine races by this point in 2011, tried to right that statistic today with a strong attack in the final two minutes of stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The BMC Racing Team rider surged hard 1.5 kilometres from the end, opening a slight gap over the Omega Pharma Quick Step train and then increasing this to several lengths through sweeping left and right bends. The Belgian powered on towards the line, but was ultimately caught with approximately 300 metres to go.

Mission unaccomplished, so, but he showed signs that his form is picking up.

The current season has been a frustrating one for Gilbert. He had a hugely successful year in 2011 but, like Sean Kelly after his dominant 1984 year, things have been tougher this time round. He has been a considerable way off the form he showed prior to his move to the BMC Racing Team, with sixth in the Amstel Gold Race, third in Flèche Wallonne, plus fourth on a stage and seventh overall in the Tour of Belgium the closest he’s got to a victory.

Today was another attempt to notch one up on the scoreboard, but he was unable to remain clear until the end.

Perhaps feeling the strain of getting back to the level he showed in 2011, he faulted his home media after he was a distant 26th on yesterday’s uphill rise to the line in Saint Félicien, an arrival which normally would suit him. “The Belgian press is hard on athletes,” he stated, according to Sporza.

"They praise you to the sky then drop you deep afterwards. There is no compassion. For my family it is sometimes tricky, but I won't let me make crazy.”

Today may have been a response to that criticism; it didn’t work out, but he’ll almost certainly try again once tomorrow’s time trial is over. The Tour de France is fast approaching and he’ll want to have at least one win under his belt before then.

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