Gilbert crashed early in the Dutch race, but recovered and escaped with Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski to win his fourth title.
However, back pain led to a hospital trip, where Gilbert remains for 24 hours under observation. Quick-Step said he suffered “a minor right kidney tear” and needs a week of “complete recovery.”
“When I crashed, I felt pain, but once I remounted and continued the race, things became better and better and the pain disappeared,” Gilbert said.
“Unfortunately, after the finish, the lower back pain returned, so together with the team doctor I decided to go to the hospital for a check-up. Fortunately, it’s nothing serious, and if everything goes well, in a week I will start training again.”
Gilbert, from nearby Liège city Verviers, would have had a chance to race into the history books this spring. Already, he won the Tour of Flanders and after taking a break and skipping Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race.
He would have been aiming for a second Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège title, and to repeat his Ardennes Classics triple from 2011.
“It’s one of my best years and looking behind on what I achieved makes me very happy. To be competitive in both the cobbled and the Ardennes Classics and to help the team be the best in the world brings me a lot of satisfaction,” Gilbert continued.
“It’s sad I won’t be there for the remaining races of this week, because I was in great condition, but our squad is a strong one and I’m confident other good results will follow.”
Gilbert crashed with around 130km remaining in the 261km Amstel Gold Race. He said that he “thought his race was over” at that point.
“They were afraid because Gianluca Brambilla was in there as well, his shoes were destroyed,” general manager Patrick Lefevere said. “And the team director Wilfried Peeters said that Philippe even lost consciousness and fortunately, he came back strong.”
Team Quick-Step gave Gilbert the chance to return to the cobbled Classics this season. He repaid them with a 55.5km solo victory in the Tour of Flanders.
He rode the last five years for BMC Racing. Last year, a training incident with two men in a car left him with a broken finger. He had to skip De Brabantse Pijl and Liège-Bastogne-Liège as a result.