Race Report
(Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Van der Poel takes stunning victory at Amstel Gold

Van der Poel stunned a lead trio who had looked set to contend the sprint, having single-handedly dragged the chase group back into the fray.

Dutch national champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) took a thrilling sprint victory at Amstel Gold Race, Sunday. The Dutchman dragged a chase group back to the lead trio before launching a 400-meter sprint to beat Simon Clarke (EF Education First) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), who came second and third consecutively.

Van der Poel seemed as astonished at his victory as everyone else, commenting: “I still can’t understand what’s happened.”

With five kilometers remaining, the race looked to be coming down to a duel between Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Fuglsang, who had gone clear with 35km to go. However, with Fuglsang sitting in as much as possible, mindful of the Frenchman’s sprint power, chaser Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) was able to latch on in the final kilometer.

Meanwhile, van der Poel had seemingly single-handedly dragged a large chase group back into contention, and the charging Dutchman had the lead trio in his sights on the long final straight. He opened his sprint with 400 meters to go, with Clarke latched to his wheel and the leaders still around 50 meters in front.

Van der Poel dodged across the road to slipstream from Fuglsang for a split second, before powering past the beleaguered lead trio in a totally unstoppable sprint. While Clarke was on his wheel much of the way, it never looked likely that the Australian would have the kick to come around such a display of power.

“I didn’t believe I could win. I didn’t expect that at all,” said van der Poel. “I felt really good and tried to anticipate a bit on the Guiperberg, but it didn’t really work out. I went full gas and hoped the leaders would start to look at each other. It’s unbelievable.”

The 267km, 35-climb race in the Limburg region of the Netherlands was the first of the three Ardennes classics.

With the breakaway caught and 45km remaining, van der Poel flashed a warning sign of his strength with an attack on the Guiperberg, at which point the action in the lead group, which still contained many of the pre-race favorites, started hotting up. He pulled Gorka Izagirre (Astana) with him, though the move didn’t stick.

After a split in the peloton caused by a crash with 36km to go, Alaphilippe attacked, pulling out Fuglsang and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott). Trentin couldn’t stick with the move however, and soon dropped back, forming a chase pair with Kwiatkowski.

In the lead pair, Fuglsang was the weaker sprinter and he knew it, looking to Alaphilippe to do as much work as possible. The Frenchman launched a few small attacks to wear down Fuglsang, but the pair remained locked together. They had a substantial gap with around 15km to go, but with the Dane’s lack of co-operation and a strong chase from Kwiatkowski, the gap started falling. With the final climb of the Cauberg done, and 2km to go, the lead pair were around 20 seconds in front of Kwiatkowski, who was now chasing solo, Trentin having dropped back.

With the finale looming, the Polish champion caught the lead pair. Though the chase group had been all-but-forgotten, they suddenly appeared seemingly from nowhere, with the white-shorted van der Poel towing them back into the fray.

And from there the incredible final throes of the race began, with it all ending in a win for the Dutch champion in front of his home crowd.


Amstel Gold Race One Day Race Results

1VAN DER POEL MathieuCorendon - Circus6:28:18
2CLARKE SimonEF Education First,,
3FUGLSANG JakobAstana Pro Team,,
4ALAPHILIPPE JulianDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
5SCHACHMANN MaximilianBORA - hansgrohe,,
6LAMBRECHT BjorgLotto Soudal,,
7DE MARCHI AlessandroCCC Team,,
8MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ,,
9BARDET RomainAG2R La Mondiale,,
10TRENTIN MatteoMitchelton-Scott,,
11KWIATKOWSKI MichałTeam Sky0:02
12MOLLEMA BaukeTrek - Segafredo,,
13COSTA RuiUAE-Team Emirates0:46
15IMPEY DarylMitchelton-Scott0:54
16MATTHEWS MichaelTeam Sunweb,,
17MCCARTHY JayBORA - hansgrohe,,
18KREUZIGER RomanTeam Dimension Data,,
19SMITH DionMitchelton-Scott,,
20SBARAGLI KristianIsrael Cycling Academy,,
21GESINK RobertTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
22ULISSI DiegoUAE-Team Emirates,,
23SKUJIŅŠ TomsTrek - Segafredo,,
24HERMANS BenIsrael Cycling Academy,,
25BATTAGLIN EnricoTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
26KONRAD PatrickBORA - hansgrohe,,
27MEURISSE XandroWanty - Gobert Cycling Team,,
28NAESEN OliverAG2R La Mondiale,,
29HENAO SergioUAE-Team Emirates,,
30GILBERT PhilippeDeceuninck - Quick Step,,
31VAN BAARLE DylanTeam Sky,,
32MOLARD RudyGroupama - FDJ,,
33VANENDERT JelleLotto Soudal1:05
34DEVENYNS DriesDeceuninck - Quick Step4:02
35VAN ASBROECK TomIsrael Cycling Academy4:19
36VERMEERSCH GianniCorendon - Circus,,
37HAAS NathanTeam Katusha Alpecin,,
38BOLE GregaBahrain Merida,,
39COQUARD BryanVital Concept - B&B Hotels,,
40VENTURINI ClémentAG2R La Mondiale,,
41VAN GESTEL DriesSport Vlaanderen - Baloise,,
42GASPAROTTO EnricoTeam Dimension Data,,
43DUIJN HuubRoompot - Charles,,
44COSNEFROY BenoîtAG2R La Mondiale,,
45LAMMERTINK MauritsRoompot - Charles,,
46MOHORIČ MatejBahrain Merida,,
47WARBASSE LarryAG2R La Mondiale,,
48MARTENS PaulTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
49VAN DER LIJKE NickRoompot - Charles,,
50MÜLLER PatrickVital Concept - B&B Hotels,,
51CHEREL MickaëlAG2R La Mondiale,,
52MEISEN MarcelCorendon - Circus,,
53VALGREN MichaelTeam Dimension Data,,
54HIRSCHI MarcTeam Sunweb,,
55PAUWELS SergeCCC Team,,
56SPRENGERS ThomasSport Vlaanderen - Baloise,,
57BURGHARDT MarcusBORA - hansgrohe,,
58VAN AERT WoutTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
59MARCZYŃSKI TomaszLotto Soudal,,
60ALBASINI MichaelMitchelton-Scott,,
61MONFORT MaximeLotto Soudal,,
62CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education First,,
63IZAGIRRE GorkaAstana Pro Team,,
64TEUNS DylanBahrain Merida,,
65SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónAstana Pro Team,,
66VALVERDE AlejandroMovistar Team,,
67ROSA DiegoTeam Sky,,
68WOODS MichaelEF Education First,,
69LUTSENKO AlexeyAstana Pro Team,,
70CARUSO DamianoBahrain Merida,,
71BETTIOL AlbertoEF Education First7:53
72COLBRELLI SonnyBahrain Merida,,
73OWEN LoganEF Education First,,
74HOWES AlexEF Education First,,
75VAN WINDEN DennisIsrael Cycling Academy,,
76PACHER QuentinVital Concept - B&B Hotels,,
77DE TIER FlorisTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
78DE WITTE MathiasRoompot - Charles,,
79PETILLI SimoneUAE-Team Emirates,,
80BARBERO CarlosMovistar Team,,
81GOGL MichaelTrek - Segafredo,,
82GOŁAŚ MichałTeam Sky,,
83AMADOR AndreyMovistar Team,,
84BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe,,
85SLAGTER Tom-JelteTeam Dimension Data,,
86JANSSENS JimmyCorendon - Circus,,
87LINDEMAN Bert-JanTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
88WEENING PieterRoompot - Charles,,
89JUUL-JENSEN ChristopherMitchelton-Scott7:56
90SCHÄR MichaelCCC Team9:12
91BERNARD JulienTrek - Segafredo,,
92HONORÉ Mikkel FrølichDeceuninck - Quick Step10:59
93SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ11:17
94PASQUALON AndreaWanty - Gobert Cycling Team,,
95CHEVRIER ClémentAG2R La Mondiale,,
96EIKING Odd ChristianWanty - Gobert Cycling Team,,
97VERMOTE JulienTeam Dimension Data,,
98JENSEN AugustIsrael Cycling Academy,,
99RIESEBEEK OscarRoompot - Charles,,
100DEVOLDER StijnCorendon - Circus,,
101DELTOMBE KevinSport Vlaanderen - Baloise,,
102DUNBAR EddieTeam Sky,,
103BAUGNIES JérômeWanty - Gobert Cycling Team,,
104BOUWMAN KoenTeam Jumbo-Visma,,
105ZABEL RickTeam Katusha Alpecin13:09
106THEUNS EdwardTrek - Segafredo13:39
107SCHULTZ NickMitchelton-Scott15:41
108POELS WoutTeam Sky,,
109VERONA CarlosMovistar Team,,
110KÄMNA LennardTeam Sunweb,,
111BARBIN EnricoBardiani - CSF,,
112DECLERCQ BenjaminSport Vlaanderen - Baloise18:22

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.