19/04/15 - 10:19 AM
Finished
Road race - Men
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Amstel Gold Race • Stage1
avant-match

Road race - Men

Follow the Amstel Gold Race live with Eurosport. The Amstel Gold Race race starts at 10:19 on 19 April 2015. Find Amstel Gold Race results, calendar, standings and table. Get all the info on the teams to watch.
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Highlights 
 
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Top five: 1. Kwiatwowski, 2. Valverde, 3. Matthews, 4. Costa, 5. Gallopin.

0km 

Rui Costa took fourth place for Lampre-Merida and Tony Gallopin fifth for Lotto Soudal. Despite animating the race, BMC had to make do with sixth place for Greg van Avermaet.

0km 

It was Lars Petter Nordhaug of Sky who led out the sprint, with Van Avermaert taking over the reins for BMC. Valverde and Matthews took second and third in the wheels of Kwiatkowski.

0km 

It's the Polish rider's first win in the rainbow jersey - and a much needed triumph for his Etixx-QuickStep team.

0km 

It's Sky who lead out the sprint... Matthews and Valverde are there... BUT KWIATKOWSKI SURGES CLEAR TO TAKE THE VICTORY!!!

1km 

Valverde joins Matthews and Gilbert over the top, with a cluster behind - including Caruso, Gasparotto and Kwiatkowski... but it it's all coming back together... there's a group of about 20 riders here.

2km 

GILBERT GOES! And Matthews follows... Kwiatkowski can't keep up... but Valverde is roaring in pursuit...

3km 

It's GreenEdge on the front after the turn onto the Cauberg, but then Ben Hermans of BMC - in the Sammy Sanchez role - roars clear. He's tracked by CCC's Peterski...

3km 

We're on for a huge ding-dong Cauberg showdown now. Mathews, Kwiatkowski, Gilbert, Valverde... they're all there.

4km 

The peloton splits for a roundabout, with BMC leading half the pack one way, and GreenEdge the other way. The pace is very, very high.

4km 

The two leaders decide enough is enough and slow to allow the peloton to wolf them down.

5km 

Six seconds for Greg Van Avermaet and Jakob Fuglsang as the riders jostle for position behind ahead of the final ascent of the Cauberg. Tinkoff-Saxo have three men there for Roman Kreuziger...

8km 

It's all over for Simon Clarke as the Aussie is reeled in on this penultimate climb. Fuglsang (Astana) and Van Avermaet (BMC) open up a small gap...

9km 

Just six seconds for Clarke now. Behind: the peloton rides as one. This will come right down to the wire, with whoever negotiates the Cauberg in pole position the favourite for the win in Valkenberg.

11km 

Clarke continues his solo ride out ahead - 13 seconds now for the Australian, whom you have to fear for on the Cauberg's next ascent.

13km 

The peloton has really slowed down - Martin and Nibali are still out, and they've effectively sat up. Hope for Clarke - although surely he's a foil for Michael Matthews.

14km 

Clarke now solos clear over the top of the climb, with Nibali and Martin sitting up. The Australian has 13 seconds.

15km 

Tanner throws in the towel, but Clarke, Nibali and Martin still ride on. They have about 10 seconds on the BMC-led pack.

17km 

Michael Clarke is already looking over his shoulder - the GreenEdge man clearly believes it's over for the break. Just 11 seconds now as Nibali leads the quartet onto the Geulhemmerberg.

18km 

The four leaders cross the 'finish line' with 17 seconds to play with. That's the dress rehearsal: the next time will be for real.

20km 

They're onto the Cauberg for the third time - the next time it will be the last time ahead of the Valbenberg finale. BMC are leading the chase and have cut the gap to 20 seconds. Alex Howes of Cannondale-Garmin has been dropped and caught by the pack. Just four out ahead now.

22km 

Nibali has a very big pull before dropping back for an energy gel. The gap is 33 seconds so it's touch and go - especially with that final ascent of the Cauberg, plus the Bemelerberg coming up.

25km 

They're not really working together, the leaders, David Tanner is riding a few bike lengths ahead, while Martin refuses to do anything. The gap is only 35 seconds.

26km 

The gap is 47 seconds for the five leaders - Martin, Howes, Nibali, Tanner and Clarke - as Kilderman is finally swallowed up by the pack. BMC and Movistar are leading the chase.

27km 

The remnants of the chasing group have joined the two leaders, Tanner and Clarke. And Nibali has a dig straight away... Tony Martin reels him in. Alex Howes of Cannondale-Garmin is there too.

28km 

CRASH: Two of the breakaway riders spin off the road at top speed on a gritty, right bend. It's Diego Rosa (Astana) and Damiano Caruso (BMC).

28km 

The gaps have opened up again, with a six-man chasing group formed around Tony Martin and Vincenzo Nibali 15 seconds down on the two leaders, Tanner and Clarke. Kelderman chases on after he rode off the road and into a field earlier, while the peloton is 45 seconds down.

30km 

Australians Tanner and Clarke ride clear of Polanc on the 22% gradient. The peloton has almost caught Kelderman, who has almost caught the chasing Nibali-Martin group.

31km 

On to the Keutenberg - the steepest climb of the race (and in the Nethelands, full stop). Clarke drives the pace with Tanner in his wheel.

31km 

Keldeman misjudged a corner and rode into a ploughed field! He didn't come off his Bianchi, but it took him a long time to get back onto the road, and the LottoNL-Jumbo rider has quite a bit of ground to make up.

32km 

Caruso is in that chasing group too - and Wilco Keldeman. Movistar have missed out here and will need to chase down before the gaps gets too big.

33km 

The leaders are onto the Fromberg - and Vincenzo Nibali is in that chasing group... interesting.

35km 

We have four riders out ahead now, with seven in pursuit and then the peloton. The gaps are very small and it's likely to come back together. The leaders are Clarke, Tanner and possibly Polanc and De Vreese. They have 15 seconds over a Tony Martin-led group and 25 seconds over the pack.

37km 

David Tanner of IAM Cycling has a dig - covered by Michael Clarke of GreenEdge and Tony Martin of Etixx. More riders have latched on, and the leading trio has been swept up.

38km 

Etixx and BMC front the streamlined pack in pursuit of the trio, who have moved onto another climb - the Eyserbosweg. But the peloton has them in its sight. The rainbow jersey Michal Kwiatkowski looks in fine fettle.

40km 

We've had a series of tight turns and it's all getting very feisty. It's a real scrum to get into position and Giampaolo Caruso almost comes a cropper there. Just three leaders out now - Polanc, Gerdemann and De Vreese. Just 20 seconds.

45km 

GreenEdge and Ag2R-La Mondiale come to the front now. The three leaders have 25 seconds over the other escapees and 1:05 over the pack.

48km 

Six become three: Gerdemann, De Vreese and Polanc are now leading the race after shedding half their breakaway companions. They have one minute over the peloton, which is being led by BMC now.

50km 

There's some handbags between Roy Curvers (Giant Alpecin) and Vicente Reynes (IAM Cycling) after a touch of wheels in the pack causes a split on one of the climbs.

52km 

A cluster or riders caught out on a bike path - including Tony Martin. There's a car parked near a lamp - which they avoid - before rejoining the road in a small gap between hedges. Moments later, there's a flash point when a car - yes a car - has to vere off the road after it was driving right towards the peloton. Phew, that was close.

55km 

The pace is really high now with all the big names and big teams wanting to be near the front ahead of some decisive climbs, including the steep Keutenberg, on the horizon. The gap is 1:35 for the leaders, who are: Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy), Johann Van Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka) and Mike Terpstra (Team Roompot).

58km 

Mechanical issue for 2013 winner Roman Kreuziger, who's dropped back to the team car for a wheel change. The Czech rider is being paced back by a Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate as the leaders head onto the Cauberg for the penultimate time.

60km 

It's hotting up now as LottoNL-Jumbo and Etixx-QuickStepp jostle on the front of the pack. The gap is 2:40 now for the six leaders, who broke clear after about 35km of today's 258km race.

65km 

A few riders cutting corners by taking the pavement through some bushes on a tight bend - luckily there were no pedestrians clogging up the passage. The gap is down to three minutes now as IAM Cycling make their presence known on the front of the pack.

72km 

Yes, the lead is tumbling now. Latest check is 3:40 so there's no way any of these six riders will stay out today. GreenEdge, Cannondale-Garmin and Lotto Soudal have come to the front to help out Movistar in the peloton.

76km 

The gap is down to 4:30 now so it looks like the inevitable is happening as the peloton steadily increase its pace ahead of the business end of this race.

80km 

Some other riders to watch out for today: Gianni Meersman (Etixx), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal), Michael Albasini and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), Tom Jelte Slagter and Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin), Warren Barguil (Giant Alpecin), Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh and Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Julian Arredondo (Trek), Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani CSF), Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty - Groupe Gobert). There once was a time when Colombia's Carlos Betancur (Ag2R-La Mondiale) might have been included, but he's been somewhat off the boil for a coupld of years now.

83km 

Alejandro Valverde looking lean and mean alongside Movistar team-mate Jose Joaquin Rojas on the Geulhemmerberg. The gap is down to five minutes for the six leaders.

86km 

Puncture for Vincenzo Nibali, who stops on the side of the Cauberg with a bunch of team-mates for a wheel change.

87km 

It's big Marcus Burghardt driving the pace for BMC on the Cauberg, with Movistar, Wanty and Astana all patrolling things. The gap is down to 5:30.

90km 

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) has retired from the race following that crash. His team will now look to Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang.

92km 

HUGE crowds as the six leaders ride up the Cauberg for the second time. It has a max gradient of 11% and an average of 7%. It's a lovely day which can explain the crowds - although, the locals love cycling so much they'd still be out in their droves if it were raining.

95km 

Lieuwe Westra of Astana must have taken a tumble because his knee is bleeding and the Dutchman is currently off the back of the peloton. The pace is quite high now on a wider, main road. The gap is 6:25.

100km 

A few riders touch wheels on a tight bend ahead of the Vrakelberg climb. The gap is still just below the seven minutes for the six leaders. A reminder of their names: Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy), Johann Van Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka) and Mike Terpstra (Team Roompot) .

102km 

So, those 34 climbs today have a typical gradient of 5% but there are some double-digit ramps thrown in for good measure. For instance - there's the Keutenberg, the steepest road in the Netherlands, which hits a maximim gradient of 22% and comes 30km from the finish. After the fourth and final ascent of the Cauberg (1.5km long at 4.7%) there's a 1.8km run into the finish. Last year, Sammy Sanchez set up BMC team-mate Philippe Gilbert with aplomb on the Cauberg.

110km 

The roads are narrow and often fairly punchy. This being the Netherlands, there is also a fair amount of road furniture. The gap is back to seven minutes for the leaders.

120km 

The sun is out now for the riders after a slightly cloudy start. The leaders have a six-minute lead over the pack, which is being controlled by BMC, Movistar, Wanty, Trek and Katusha. Trek are racing for leader Bauke Mollema, with Frank Schleck a possible Plan B (should things go really awry). Schleck, remember, won the race back in 2006 in the middle of an infamous run of winners that included Alexander Vinokourov, Davide Rebellin, Danilo Di Luca and Stefan Schumacher....

- 

The gap for the six leaders was over ten minutes after 80km but that's been reined in a little by the combined work of BMC and CCC on the front of the peloton. There's four laps of the course - meaning four ascents of the famous Cauberg climb.

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Nice to see Linus Gerdemann in the peloton: the 32-year-old German was on the verge of retiring when he failed to find a team for the 2013 season after being released by Leopard Trek. MTN-Qhubeka gave him a lifeline last season before the Tour de France stage winner (from 2007) joined Pro-Continental outfit Cult Energy Pro Cycling ahead of the current season.

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If you were wondering, Mike Terpstra is the younger brother of the 2014 Paris-Roubaix winner, Niki Terpstra of Etixx-QuickStep. The break formed after about 35km of racing following the start in Maastrict. Sky's Wout Poels was among early attackers before the six-man group managed to form on the third climb of the day.

150km 

We pick up the race with around 150km remaining with a group of six riders holding a lead of just under seven minutes over the peloton. They are: Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy), Johann Van Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka) and Mike Terpstra (Team Roompot).

12:45 

Other riders to watch today are: Gilbert's BMC team-mate Greg van Avermaet (who will have a point to prove after a testing week off the bike), world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep), Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

12:40 

Gilbert returns this year to make it a fourth win - but the record will still lie with Dutchman Jan Raas, who won in consecutive years between 1977 and 1980 before adding a fifth in 1982.

12:35 

Belgium's Philippe Gilbert is the defending champion, the BMC rider powering up the Cauberg ahead of countryman Jelle Vanendert and Australian Simon Gerrans last year to win the third Amstel Gold Race of his career.

12:30 

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Amstel Gold Race - the first of three classics that make up the gruelling Ardennes Week. With a total of 34 climbs packed into the 251km race, this is a particularly brutal edition of the Dutch one-day classic.