Gilbert pulls clear in Belgium

Sat, 28 May 16:12:00 2011

Local favourite Philippe Gilbert cemented his Tour of Belgium lead after taking Saturday's fourth stage in Eupen.

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The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider edged a sprint against fellow Belgians Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil), who were second and third respectively.

The top three all posted times of four hours, 50 minutes and 47 seconds, with fourth-placed Bert de Waele seven seconds behind to complete a Belgian sweep of 1-4, the positions identical for the general classification.

Gilbert, who was expected to do well in the hills of his homeland, is now 15 seconds clear of Van Avermaet in the GC, with his German team-mate Andre Greipel dropping from second to 10th after finishing a good three minutes off the pace.

Gilbert should now wrap up victory in a final stage between Oreye and Putte, a route that is well known to him.

"Today’s stage was tailor-made for me," Gilbert said afterwards.

"In front of my family and friends, on my favourite roads that I trained on during the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race: I could not fail to win."


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