At the end of the race, the BMC rider came out on top in a two-up sprint with Wellens for the line. Philippe Gilbert’s BMC teammate Greg Van Avermaet came in third.
33-year-old Gilbert was also Belgian champion in 2011, a year before he won the World Championship Road Race in the Netherlands.
Speaking after his race win Philippe Gilbert told journalists that “The final was a hard one because Wellens went full gas”.
“I was able to respond to his attacks and I was always there, really focusing on the sprint. I didn’t want to start playing too far from the line in case the others came back, so we really waited until the last kilometre. I was nervous because I wanted to win so much. When you are in this situation it is there that you make mistakes. So I was trying to think positive thoughts and think of my family and my future, and not going crazy. That’s what I did and that relaxed me a bit”, he added.
“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”, Philippe Gilbert concluded.
As Philippe Gilbert is not taking part in this year’s Tour de France. He will probably wear his Belgian champion’s jersey for the time during the forthcoming Tour of Poland.