25th of September 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert produced one of his trademark amazing bursts of speed to win the world road race in the Netherlands. The 30-year-old cyclist attacked on the last of 11 ascents of the Cauberg climb after 269km of racing and his rivals were unable to catch him. Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen was second while Spain's Alejandro Valverde arrived third. 2011 winner Mark Cavendish was forced to leave the race due to exhaustion with 110km to go. Sprinter Cavendish had already stated that the hilly terrain meant he had no chance of winning the race but he still put in a tremendous amount of work for his British team-mates, controlling the pace of the peloton for around 100km after 11 riders managed to establish a break.
"I'm more tired after 140km than after 250km last year," Cavendish conceded. His British team-mates Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, who were first and second in this year's Tour de France, also failed to finish the race, pulling out after five laps.
As Gilbert rode away from the peloton over the summit of the Cauberg, Boasson Hagen, Valverde and Russia's Alexander Kolobnev appeared more concerned with each other than trying to catch the leader who still had more than 1km to race."I've won some big one-day races in my career but this is so special," Gilbert said. "I now get to wear the rainbow jersey every day for 12 months."
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) 6:10:41"
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) +4"
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) +5"
4. John Degenkolb (Ger)
5. Lars Boom (Ned)
6. Allan Davis (Aus)
7. Thomas Voeckler (Fra)
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit)
9. Sergio Henao (Col)
10. Oscar Freire (Spa)
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