Philippe Gilbert captured his second stage of this year's Giro d'Italia Thursday after soloing out of a breakaway that included teammate Amaël Moinard, who finished fifth.
Gilbert earned the BMC Racing Team its 10th victory of the season by attacking 19 kilometers from the finish. He soloed his BMC teammachine SLR01 in 47 seconds ahead of Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF Pro Team) and 61 seconds ahead of Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), who won a six-up sprint for third.
"This is definitely one of my most satisfying victories," Gilbert said, "because I had time to enjoy it in the final three or four kilometers. I heard on the radio from (BMC Racing Team Sport Director) Valerio Piva that I had a minute on the chasers. With a minute, I knew the stage was won."
Gilbert's other win of the race came one week ago, on Stage 12, when he charged out of the peloton in a driving rainstorm on the uphill finish at Monte Berico in Vicenza.
Gilbert and Moinard were part of an original group of 12 which escaped the peloton about 45 kilometers into the 170-km race. They rapidly built a lead that peaked at nearly 13 minutes before the race headed up the day's major climb, the Monte Ologno.
Moinard was part of a group of four that crested the summit about a minute ahead of a chase group that included Gilbert. On the descent, Gilbert's group caught the leading quartet. The former world road champion did not waste any time venturing off on his own.
"This morning on the bus, we talked about how the breakaway might have a chance," Gilbert said. "At the foot of the climb, the rest went full out. But I knew I had to ride my own tempo. When I made contact with the front group, I started to attack immediately. Yes, I took risks on the descent. But you have to if you want to win a stage in the Giro."
Gilbert led by 46 seconds with five kilometers to go and had plenty of time to celebrate winning two stages in a grand tour for the third time in his career. In 2012, he won two stages of the Vuelta a España (Stage 9 and 19) after first doing it in 2010 (Stages 3 and 19), also at the Vuelta.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Fabio Baldato said the race went precisely according to the team's pre-race plan, which was to get two riders into the breakaway.
"We are really happy. This was really great," he said. "It was not easy to make the breakaway. It was a 49 kilometers-per-hour average the first hour, which was a really hard start. Silvan Dillier, Brent Bookwalter, Rick Zabel and Marcus Burghardt all tried to make the breakaway. Phil and Amaël made the race hard, they made the attack and they forced the breakaway. For us, it was perfect."
Race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished 12th on the stage and increased his advantage over second-placed Mikel Landa (Astana Pro Team) to 5:15. Damiano Caruso remains the BMC Racing Team's best-placed rider, in seventh, 11:05 behind, after placing 16th.
Moinard, who was a late addition to the BMC Racing Team's Giro d'Italia roster after Klaas Lodewyck could not be medically cleared, continues to move up in the standings. He climbed from 15th to 13th Thursday and is 21:15 behind with three days to go. The past Paris-Nice king of the mountains winner said a relaxed approach to his third Giro d'Italia has been the recipe for success.
"I am taking it day by day and have not put any pressure on myself," he said. "I am just following and not putting any pressure for myself for the GC (general classification). I think the mood in the team has helped a lot."
Gilbert becomes the fourth BMC Racing Team rider to win two races this year. Rohan Dennis won Stage 3 and the overall of the Santos Tour Down Under in January. Stefan Küng scored solo victories at the Volta Limburg Classic in April and on Stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie in May. And Ben Hermans soloed to wins at Brabantse Pij in April and the last stage of the Tour de Yorkshire in May ... Moinard is on his way to his best finish in a grand tour. In his previous best result, he finished 14th at the 2008 Tour de France.