Gilbert and Valverde 1-2 at Murcia

Philippe Gilbert, competing for BMC Racing and using his fi’zi:k R1B shoes to great effect, rode to his first victory of the 2016 season at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia on Saturday. Gilbert, now in the 14th year of his professional career, outsprinted Alejandro Valverde (Movistar and fi’zi:k Antares 00) and Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin, who finished second and third, respectively.

A great team effort from BMC Racing saw Ben Hermans (fi’zi:k Aliante R1) cross the line in fifth with Tejay van Garderen (fi’zi:k Aliante VSX) seventh over the 199.3km course from San Javier to Murcia.

‘Today was just a great day,’ said a jubilant Gilbert. ‘Tejay attacked 2km from the top [of the final climb of the day – the category-three Cresta del Gallo], at which point we had six of seven guys left. We caught him with 2km to go and then I took my chance in the sprint.’

There was also much for fi’zi:k to celebrate in France at La Méditerranéenne as FDJ won two of the four stages. Thursday saw the French team achieve something that has remained absent from their palmarés – victory at a team time trial. FDJ covered the 5.5km course in 6 minutes precisely, averaging just over 55km/hr. Matthieu Ladagnous (fi’zi:k Aliante) was first across the line to adorn the leader’s jersey the following day.

As it transpired, Ladagnous was keeping it warm for teammate Arnaud Démare (fi’zi:k Arione VS) who won the 157.6km second stage from Banyuls-sur-Mer to Port-Vendres after a bunch sprint. Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale and fi’zi:k) then celebrated his 30th birthday by winning the fourth and final stage, which gave him third in GC. Ladagnous went one better in second with Andriy Grivko taking overall victory.

There was also impressive performances from fi’zi:k riders in cyclocross as Telenet-Fidea’s Tom Meeusen (Aliante R1) finished second at the final Superprestige race of the season in Middelkerke. Teammates Toon Aerts (Aliante R1) and Corne Van Kessel (Antares R1) finished fifth and eighth, respectively.