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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.

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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 Results

1VAN DER POEL MathieuCorendon - Circus6:28:18
2CLARKE SimonEF Education First0:00
3FUGLSANG JakobAstana Pro Team0:00
4ALAPHILIPPE JulianDeceuninck - Quick Step0:00
5SCHACHMANN MaximilianBORA - hansgrohe0:00
6LAMBRECHT BjorgLotto Soudal0:00
7DE MARCHI AlessandroCCC Team0:00
8MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ0:00
9BARDET RomainAG2R La Mondiale0:00
10TRENTIN MatteoMitchelton-Scott0:00
11KWIATKOWSKI MichałTeam Sky0:02
12MOLLEMA BaukeTrek - Segafredo0:02
13COSTA RuiUAE Team Emirates0:46
15IMPEY DarylMitchelton-Scott0:54
16MATTHEWS MichaelTeam Sunweb0:54
17MCCARTHY JayBORA - hansgrohe0:54
18KREUZIGER RomanTeam Dimension Data0:54
19SMITH DionMitchelton-Scott0:54
20SBARAGLI KristianIsrael Cycling Academy0:54
21GESINK RobertTeam Jumbo-Visma0:54
22ULISSI DiegoUAE Team Emirates0:54
23SKUJIŅŠ TomsTrek - Segafredo0:54
24HERMANS BenIsrael Cycling Academy0:54
25BATTAGLIN EnricoTeam Katusha Alpecin0:54
26KONRAD PatrickBORA - hansgrohe0:54
27MEURISSE XandroWanty - Gobert Cycling Team0:54
28NAESEN OliverAG2R La Mondiale0:54
29HENAO SergioUAE Team Emirates0:54
30GILBERT PhilippeDeceuninck - Quick Step0:54
31VAN BAARLE DylanTeam Sky0:54
32MOLARD RudyGroupama - FDJ0:54
33VANENDERT JelleLotto Soudal1:05
34DEVENYNS DriesDeceuninck - Quick Step4:02
35VAN ASBROECK TomIsrael Cycling Academy4:19
36VERMEERSCH GianniCorendon - Circus4:19
37HAAS NathanTeam Katusha Alpecin4:19
38BOLE GregaBahrain Merida4:19
39COQUARD BryanVital Concept - B&B Hotels4:19
40VENTURINI ClémentAG2R La Mondiale4:19
41VAN GESTEL DriesSport Vlaanderen - Baloise4:19
42GASPAROTTO EnricoTeam Dimension Data4:19
43DUIJN HuubRoompot - Charles4:19
44COSNEFROY BenoîtAG2R La Mondiale4:19
45LAMMERTINK MauritsRoompot - Charles4:19
46MOHORIČ MatejBahrain Merida4:19
47WARBASSE LarryAG2R La Mondiale4:19
48MARTENS PaulTeam Jumbo-Visma4:19
49VAN DER LIJKE NickRoompot - Charles4:19
50MÜLLER PatrickVital Concept - B&B Hotels4:19
51CHEREL MikaëlAG2R La Mondiale4:19
52MEISEN MarcelCorendon - Circus4:19
53VALGREN MichaelTeam Dimension Data4:19
54HIRSCHI MarcTeam Sunweb4:19
55PAUWELS SergeCCC Team4:19
56SPRENGERS ThomasSport Vlaanderen - Baloise4:19
57BURGHARDT MarcusBORA - hansgrohe4:19
58VAN AERT WoutTeam Jumbo-Visma4:19
59MARCZYŃSKI TomaszLotto Soudal4:19
60ALBASINI MichaelMitchelton-Scott4:19
61MONFORT MaximeLotto Soudal4:19
62CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education First4:19
63IZAGIRRE GorkaAstana Pro Team4:19
64TEUNS DylanBahrain Merida4:19
65SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónAstana Pro Team4:19
66VALVERDE AlejandroMovistar Team4:19
67ROSA DiegoTeam Sky4:19
68WOODS MichaelEF Education First4:19
69LUTSENKO AlexeyAstana Pro Team4:19
70CARUSO DamianoBahrain Merida4:19
71BETTIOL AlbertoEF Education First7:53
72COLBRELLI SonnyBahrain Merida7:53
73OWEN LoganEF Education First7:53
74HOWES AlexEF Education First7:53
75VAN WINDEN DennisIsrael Cycling Academy7:53
76PACHER QuentinVital Concept - B&B Hotels7:53
77DE TIER FlorisTeam Jumbo-Visma7:53
78DE WITTE MathiasRoompot - Charles7:53
79PETILLI SimoneUAE Team Emirates7:53
80BARBERO CarlosMovistar Team7:53
81GOGL MichaelTrek - Segafredo7:53
82GOŁAŚ MichałTeam Sky7:53
83AMADOR AndreyMovistar Team7:53
84BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe7:53
85SLAGTER Tom-JelteTeam Dimension Data7:53
86JANSSENS JimmyCorendon - Circus7:53
87LINDEMAN Bert-JanTeam Jumbo-Visma7:53
88WEENING PieterRoompot - Charles7:53
89JUUL-JENSEN ChristopherMitchelton-Scott7:56
90SCHÄR MichaelCCC Team9:12
91BERNARD JulienTrek - Segafredo9:12
92HONORÉ Mikkel FrølichDeceuninck - Quick Step10:59
93SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ11:17
94PASQUALON AndreaWanty - Gobert Cycling Team11:17
95CHEVRIER ClémentAG2R La Mondiale11:17
96EIKING Odd ChristianWanty - Gobert Cycling Team11:17
97VERMOTE JulienTeam Dimension Data11:17
98JENSEN AugustIsrael Cycling Academy11:17
99RIESEBEEK OscarRoompot - Charles11:17
100DEVOLDER StijnCorendon - Circus11:17
101DELTOMBE KevinSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:17
102DUNBAR EddieTeam Sky11:17
103BAUGNIES JérômeWanty - Gobert Cycling Team11:17
104BOUWMAN KoenTeam Jumbo-Visma11:17
105ZABEL RickTeam Katusha Alpecin13:09
106THEUNS EdwardTrek - Segafredo13:39
107SCHULTZ NickMitchelton-Scott15:41
108POELS WoutTeam Sky15:41
109VERONA CarlosMovistar Team15:41
110KÄMNA LennardTeam Sunweb15:41
111BARBIN EnricoBardiani - CSF15:41
112DECLERCQ BenjaminSport Vlaanderen - Baloise18:22

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.