Philippe Gilbert wins Amstel Gold Race
Apr 16 2017 11:03 pm CET

Philippe Gilbert wins Amstel Gold Race

Weeks after winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Philippe Gilbert has once again impressed the cycling world by beating Michal Kwiatkowski in a sprint of two to win the Amstel Gold Race.

The only Dutch classic of the year featured a 258 kilometers long route from Maastricht to Valkenburg, with the traditional ascent of the Cauberg shortly before the finish.

A large group rode away from the peloton early on, including home rider Lars Boom of LottoNL-Jumbo, Stijn Vandenbergh of AG2R La Mondiale and Direct Energie's Fabien Grellier.

The group was eventually reeled in with Grellier staying ahead a little longer until he too was caught at around 40 kilometers from the finish.

A new and much stronger front group was formed soon after with Ronde Van Vlaanderen winner Philippe Gilbert, Sergio Henao, Michael Albasini, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Bertjan Lindeman, Nathan Haas and Ion Izagirre.

Former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski bridged the gap with the front group while climbing the steep Keutenberg. Greg Van Avermaet, Alejandro Valverde, Tim Wellens and Fabio Felline attempted to do so as well but couldn't quite make the jump. The four were then joined by Warren Barguil, Bob Jungels and Rui Costa to form a strong chase group of seven.

The front group continued to gain terrain however. Down to seven after Lindeman's inability to keep up with the pace, the gap went up to half a minute with 20 kilometers to go.

Little changed to the situation and the gap between the two strong groups had grown to 45 seconds with nine kilometers to go, meaning that the winner of this year's Amstel Gold Race was likely to be one of the seven riders at the front.

Sky's Kwiatkowski attacked at 6.6 kilometers from the line and was initially followed by the rest of the group, but when Gilbert then launched a counter-attack the two did manage to ride away from their rivals.

Haas tried to bridge the gap with the two leaders but failed to do so and soon found himself back in the group of chasers while Gilbert and Kwiatkowski continued to add to their advantage.

The final sprint was a true poker game as the five chasers closed in while the two in front waited for each other to make the first move. Kwiatkowski gave in first and initiated the sprint. The Polish rider initially created a significant gap but Gilbert reacted well and ended up powering past his rival in the final meters to take his second classic win of the season.

For the Quick-Step rider this is his first victory in the Amstel Gold Race, after having won before in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Behind them, Albasini won the sprint for third place ahead of Haas and Rojas.
Photo of Philippe Gilbert (cropped) © BrakeThrough Media



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