May 25, 2011- Dutchman Lieuwe Westra claimed victory in the Tour of Belgium prologue to take the lead of the race on Wednesday.
The Vacansoleil rider finished one second ahead of classics king Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma), with another Belgian, Dominique Cornu, in third at 02sec adrift.
"I've already succeeded my Tour of Belgium," said a delighted Westra. Gilbert was the undisputed king of the tough Ardennes Classics last month, the Belgian winning a rare trilogy of races at the Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
"Since Liege I've put on a kilogramme, but I feel pretty good," said Gilbert, who has promised to light up the race this week.
"My next objective is to be on top form for the Tour de France (July 2-25) where I will be aiming for stage wins. This week, if my team manages to control the race on the fourth stage that is the stage I want to win."
The fourth stage on Saturday goes over familiar terrain for Gilbert, with the peloton tackling the Mur de Huy, which features twice on Fleche Wallonne, and three of the many climbs - Wanne, Stockeu and Haute Levee - which are regulars on Liege.