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by Matt de Neef
June 27, 2016
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Philippe Gilbert takes his second Belgian national title; Andre Greipel claims his third German national title; Adam Blythe wins British nationals road race; Giacomo Nizzolo crowned Italian champion; Vichot wins the French national road race championships; Jose Joaquin Rojas crowned Spanish champion for the second time; Groenwegen wins the Dutch national road title; More from a big weekend of national championships; Lotto Soudal reveals that Stig Broeckx has severe brain damage; French army thermal camera to be used to detect motors at the Tour de France; Nacer Bouhanni injures hand in late-night hotel altercation; What it feels like to ride 7,000km in three weeks; Behind the scenes at the ZLM Tour with Adam Phelan.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has wound back the clock to win the Belgian national road title for the second time in his career. Adding to his first national title from 2011 — a season in which Gilbert was seemingly unstoppable — Gilbert won the 2016 edition over the weekend by beating Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) in a two-up sprint to the line. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was third.
A 25-rider break got clear early in the 231km race before Gilbert launched an attack with a little less than 50km to go. He was joined by Wellens and Laurens De Plus (Etixx-QuickStep) but when the latter was dropped, Gilbert and Wellens were left to contest the win.
“I knew that if I went alone I would have teams chasing behind me so I needed a Lotto-Soudal rider with me,”Gilbert said. “It worked well to have Wellens with me, and also Laurens De Plus, so the three biggest teams were represented up the front and no one was really chasing. It was the perfect trio.
“It’s completely different to my first championship. When I won in 2011 I was in the best period of my career. I wasn’t expecting to win then because the course didn’t suit me too much. But here I was working really hard after my accident in April to get back to this level.
“This win gives me a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to wearing the jersey at the Tour of Poland.”