Philippe Gilbert close to ending reign as world champion without a win

Philippe Gilbert signs on, Tour Down Under 2013, stage three

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) heads towards the World Championships without one win in the rainbow jersey, the worst since Luc Leblanc or Rudy Dhaenens in the 1990s. His last chance to raise arms in victory with the colours on his chest is in the Vuelta a España, where a win seems hard to come by.

On Monday, the organiser delivered a stage to Mirador de Lobeira that the Belgian normally would have devoured. The same sort of kick in the final allowed him to win the World Championship last year in Valkenburg. Instead, the stage symbolised his season: just off the mark. Gilbert placed 37th at 24 seconds behind Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard).

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