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Amstel Gold Race: Wout van Aert edges photo finish to deny Tom Pidcock

Van Aert avoids repeat of Brabantse Pijl, beating Pidcock in scintillating final sprint. Max Schachmann finished third.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) beat Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) in a photo finish at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.

Van Aert and Pidcock had gone away with Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) with 12 kilometers to go after a flurry of moves from Ineos Grenadiers up and over the Cauberg climb.

The trio went into the final 300 meters locked together as the peloton breathed down their necks.

Van Aert led out the sprint from the front of the group at 150m remaining, with Pidcock coming off his wheel at around 80m to go in what made for a carbon-copy of Brabantse Pijl earlier in the week.

Rather than Pidcock bossing the sprint as he did Wednesday, he and van Aert crossed the line dead-level to hand the debating to the commissaries, much as the women’s Brabantse Pijl had come down to a jury decision. After some 10 minutes of debate, officials handed the win to van Aert, marking his second major classics victory of the year after Gent-Wevelgem.

“They said I won but I don’t actually believe it,” van Aert said after the race. “Just two minutes ago the jury came to tell me I won, so yeh [laughs].”

“A long sprint is normally in my favor,” he continued. “I had maybe the worst position to start the sprint so I thought it better to launch early, and apparently it was just enough.”

Pidcock was visibly frustrated as he waited for the jury to make its verdict, and was disconsolate on being handed second-place.

“I went too late. I should have gone first, I think I was the fastest,” he said. “I think I was the strongest of the race. It’s a bit frustrating by losing with such a margin. But it’s still second so I’m still happy.”

Van Aert’s win made it a clean sweep for Jumbo-Visma at Amstel Gold Race after Marianne Vos won the women’s race earlier in the day – much as the twosome won the men’s and women’s Gent-Wevelgem last month.

 

PrimoĆŸ Roglič had worked as superdomestique for van Aert through the opening 200km of the race, playing a key role in marking the moves for his Belgian teammate. The Slovenian suffered a mechanical at the very worst moment, forcing him to pull to the side of the road just as the key attacks started on the final ascent of the Cauberg at 18km to go.

“PrimoĆŸ had a little mechanical in the final so I was alone in the front group,” van Aert said. “That wasn’t ideal with a lot of Ineos guys, but from the point it was the three of us I knew I had a good chance. I won some nice races [this spring] and was always there in every race.

“I’m proud of this, and it was 30 years today since our director Frans Maassen won the Gold Race. All year he’d been saying this was the most important race of the year, so I’m happy to give him this victory.”

Race heats up at 70km to go after snoozy start

The race saw a frantic final few hours as the circuit-race format adopted for 2021 invited an open and aggressive dynamic.

After the early break of 10 had enjoyed a slow start to the race, attacks started out of the peloton at around 70km to go and it was full-gas from there to the finish.

Ineos Grenadiers, BikeExchange, Bahrain-Victorious and Qhubeka Assos were all active with separate moves, with Roglič and Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard and Sam Oomen always present marking the threats.

A dangerous group of six detached itself on a narrow lane at 43km to go after Dylan van Baarle squeezed the pace as Jumbo-Visma found many of its riders out of position on the tight farm road. After Roglič and Co. had been so active monitoring the attacks all race, the Dutch squad pulled the escape group and the remnants of the early breakaway back into the peloton with two full laps of the 17-km circuit remaining.

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) made a solo attack through the penultimate lap only to see the red hot pace behind end his escape on the Cauberg at 18km to go as Ineos Grenadiers prepared to open up the race.

Ineos Grenadiers makes its move on the Cauberg

Ineos Grenadiers played its card on the final climb of the Cauberg with 18km to go.

Pidcock and Richard Carapaz attacked along with van Aert and Schachmann at the base of the iconic climb before Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) and then Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) bridged across in the following kilometers.

With Ineos packing three riders in the front group, Kwiatkowski punched away solo at 13km to go as riders dashed across from the peloton.

Shortly after Kwiatkowski was caught, Pidock punched away with van Aert and Schachmann in his wheel to set up the tense final as the chase failed to coordinate its effort.

Amstel Gold Race Results

Stage
RankNameTeamTime
1VAN AERT WoutTeam Jumbo-Visma5:03:29
2PIDCOCK ThomasINEOS Grenadiers0:00
3SCHACHMANN MaximilianBORA - hansgrohe0:00
4MATTHEWS MichaelTeam BikeExchange0:03
5VALVERDE AlejandroMovistar Team0:03
6ALAPHILIPPE JulianDeceuninck - Quick Step0:03
7SBARAGLI KristianAlpecin-Fenix0:03
8KWIATKOWSKI MichaƂINEOS Grenadiers0:03
9MOHORIČ MatejBahrain - Victorious0:03
10VAN DER SANDE ToshLotto Soudal0:03
11ARANBURU AlexAstana - Premier Tech0:03
12TRENTIN MatteoUAE-Team Emirates0:03
13VALGREN MichaelEF Education - Nippo0:03
14KONRAD PatrickBORA - hansgrohe0:03
15BENOOT TiesjTeam DSM0:03
16MARTIN GuillaumeCofidis, Solutions Crédits0:03
17TULETT BenAlpecin-Fenix0:03
18PARET-PEINTRE AurélienAG2R Citroën Team0:03
19HOELGAARD MarkusUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:03
20HERMANS QuintenIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux0:03
21IMPEY DarylIsrael Start-Up Nation0:03
22VENTURINI ClémentAG2R Citroën Team0:03
23MOLARD RudyGroupama - FDJ0:03
24HIGUITA SergioEF Education - Nippo0:03
25BARGUIL WarrenTeam Arkéa Samsic0:03
26VAN AVERMAET GregAG2R Citroën Team0:03
27MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ0:03
28CARAPAZ RichardINEOS Grenadiers0:03
29WELLENS TimLotto Soudal0:03
30HENAO SergioTeam Qhubeka ASSOS0:03
31LUTSENKO AlexeyAstana - Premier Tech0:03
32WOODS MichaelIsrael Start-Up Nation0:03
33TEUNS DylanBahrain - Victorious0:03
34GAUDU DavidGroupama - FDJ0:03
35HIRSCHI MarcUAE-Team Emirates0:03
36NEILANDS KristsIsrael Start-Up Nation0:08
37KELDERMAN WilcoBORA - hansgrohe0:09
38FUGLSANG JakobAstana - Premier Tech0:10
39CORT MagnusEF Education - Nippo2:12
40THEUNS EdwardTrek - Segafredo2:12
41OLDANI StefanoLotto Soudal2:12
42GESCHKE SimonCofidis, Solutions Crédits2:12
43BARCELÓ FernandoCofidis, Solutions CrĂ©dits2:12
44ROTA LorenzoIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:12
45GODON DorianAG2R Citroën Team2:12
46WIRTGEN LucBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB2:12
47TRATNIK JanBahrain - Victorious2:12
48DE TIER FlorisAlpecin-Fenix2:12
49SMITH DionTeam BikeExchange2:12
50STRAKHOV DmitryGazprom - RusVelo2:12
51GOGL MichaelTeam Qhubeka ASSOS2:12
52POLANC JanUAE-Team Emirates2:12
53CONCI NicolaTrek - Segafredo2:12
54COSTA RuiUAE-Team Emirates2:12
55CLARKE SimonTeam Qhubeka ASSOS2:12
56SCHELLING IdeBORA - hansgrohe2:12
57FRAILE OmarAstana - Premier Tech2:12
58POELS WoutBahrain - Victorious2:12
59CARR SimonEF Education - Nippo2:12
60VERONA CarlosMovistar Team2:12
61PEREZ AnthonyCofidis, Solutions Crédits2:12
62VAN BAARLE DylanINEOS Grenadiers2:12
63BAKELANTS JanIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:12
64MOLLEMA BaukeTrek - Segafredo2:17
65CHAVES EstebanTeam BikeExchange2:19
66JANSSENS JimmyAlpecin-Fenix2:19
67VANSEVENANT MauriDeceuninck - Quick Step2:29
68ABRAHAMSEN JonasUno-X Pro Cycling Team3:44
69ROGLIČ PrimoĆŸTeam Jumbo-Visma3:44
70CAVAGNA RĂ©miDeceuninck - Quick Step3:44
71GIBBONS RyanUAE-Team Emirates3:44
72COLBRELLI SonnyBahrain - Victorious3:44
73VERMAERKE KevinTeam DSM3:44
74DEWULF StanAG2R Citroën Team3:44
75SERRY PieterDeceuninck - Quick Step3:44
76PICHON LaurentTeam Arkéa Samsic3:44
77SKAARSETH AndersUno-X Pro Cycling Team3:44
78BERNARD JulienTrek - Segafredo3:44
79BJERG MikkelUAE-Team Emirates4:59
80APERS RubenSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:17
81KREUZIGER RomanGazprom - RusVelo6:17
82BAUER JackTeam BikeExchange6:17
83SCHÄR MichaelAG2R CitroĂ«n Team6:17
84BURGHARDT MarcusBORA - hansgrohe6:17
85LADAGNOUS MatthieuGroupama - FDJ6:17
86SKUJIƅƠ TomsTrek - Segafredo6:17
87HOWES AlexEF Education - Nippo6:17
88HVIDEBERG Jonas IversbyUno-X Pro Cycling Team6:17
89LINDEMAN Bert-JanTeam Qhubeka ASSOS6:17
90CHERNETSKI SergeiGazprom - RusVelo6:17
91OOMEN SamTeam Jumbo-Visma6:17
92STANNARD RobertTeam BikeExchange6:17
93GESINK RobertTeam Jumbo-Visma6:17
94TUSVELD MartijnTeam DSM6:17
95SERRANO GonzaloMovistar Team6:17
96SPRENGERS ThomasSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:17
97MEZGEC LukaTeam BikeExchange6:17
98WARLOP JordiSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:17
99RIESEBEEK OscarAlpecin-Fenix6:17
100VAN POUCKE AaronSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:17
101MEURISSE XandroAlpecin-Fenix6:17
102WÆRSTED SyverUno-X Pro Cycling Team6:17
103SWIFT ConnorTeam Arkéa Samsic6:17
104VLIEGEN LoïcIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux6:17
105GRIGNARD SĂ©bastienLotto Soudal6:17
106WIRTGEN TomBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB6:17
107OWSIAN ƁukaszTeam Arkéa Samsic6:17
108GOƁAƚ MichaƂINEOS Grenadiers6:17
109DUNBAR EddieINEOS Grenadiers6:17
110HOFSTETTER HugoIsrael Start-Up Nation6:17
111SÉNÉCHAL FlorianDeceuninck - Quick Step6:17
112CATTANEO MattiaDeceuninck - Quick Step6:17
113MOLLY KennyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB6:17
114LAMMERTINK MauritsIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux6:17
115VINGEGAARD JonasTeam Jumbo-Visma6:17
116DONOVAN MarkTeam DSM6:17
117WILLIAMS StephenBahrain - Victorious6:17
118HERREGODTS RuneSport Vlaanderen - Baloise14:24
119BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe14:24
120URIANSTAD MartinUno-X Pro Cycling Team14:24
121JUUL-JENSEN ChristopherTeam BikeExchange14:24
122POWER RobertTeam Qhubeka ASSOS14:24
123VELASCO SimoneGazprom - RusVelo14:24
124GAMPER PatrickBORA - hansgrohe14:24
125ROVNY IvanGazprom - RusVelo14:24

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.