Gilbert bosses Brabantse Pijl
Belgian's form building for Ardennes Classics
Last Updated: 13/04/11 5:24pm
Gilbert: Hitting top form at the perfect time this season
Philippe Gilbert took an impressive solo victory to capture the prestigious Brabantse Pijl semi-classic.
The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider continued his strong early-season form, sounding an ominous warning to his Ardennes Classics rivals by riding away from Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) on the finishing climb.
The two Belgians edged clear of a seven-man breakaway group on the final lap of the race with Gilbert benefitting from fresher legs than his rival to take his fourth win of the season.
2009 race winner Anthony Geslin (FDJ) rounded out the podium little over a minute later, pipping Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) to the rostrum.
Vacansoleil were largely responsible for injecting life into a race that unusually saw no early break escape up the road.
The Dutch squad sent breakaway specialists Hoogerland and Thomas De Gendt off the front in an exciting show of attacking strength which paved the way for team-mate Leukemans.
Much of the peloton will now head to Holland for the Amstel Gold Race, the first of the Ardennes Classics which get underway on Sunday.