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Amstel Gold Race

02:31:02

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Top Ten

1.Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers)
2. Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroen)
3. Tiesj Benoot (Team Jumbo Visma)
4. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)
5. Alexander Kamp (Trek-Segafredo)
6. Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl)
7. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco)
8. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ)
9. Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)
10. Dylan Teuns (Team Bahrain Victorious)
World Championships
Van der Poel abandons World Championships following overnight arrest
A DAY AGO

Correction: Michal Kwiatkowski wins Amstel Gold Race!

What a finish that was! It always looked as if experience was going to prevail, with Kwiatkowski playing a cagey game and staying behind as long as possible. Cosnefroy weaved across the road, started his sprint 200m to the line. Kwiatkowski came back at him, stalled and threw his bike at the line. Head-on it looked as if the Frenchman had it, and he was even told he had, but the photo denied him. Heartbreak for Cosnefroy as history repeats itself. Tiesj Benoot comes home for a worthy third place.

2km to go: Van der Poel goes!

He clearly decides it’s now or never. But he doesn’t get very far. The gap falls but it looks like a two-up sprint in the offing. Will we get a repeat of last week when Van der Poel and Pogacar got caught? Surely too little, too late.

4km to go: Running out of road

Van der Poel finally comes to the front but his effort is looking laboured. Pidcock on the radio, surely being informed that his team-mate is a few hundred metres away, as well as being told to take precisely no turns at all.

7km to go: “These riders have to attack. They need to get away if they can.”

The gap is up to 35 seconds. Blythe is right: if MVDP isn’t going to go, someone else will need to. All the climbing is done.

12km to go: 25 seconds the gap

Cosnefroy and Kwiatkowski two know what they have to do, and they’re doing it. Adam Blythe thinks the rest are waiting for Van der Poel to light the afterburners, but Blythe thinks he doesn’t have the pyro in his pouch, which means the rest could be left wanting. Just the Bemelerberg left.

18km to go: Cosnefroy catches Kwiatkowski

The gap isn’t huge to the riders behind, yet, but if the others dither, if none take responsibility for the chase, it can easily become a definitive one. Dylan Teuns goes on the hunt but no-one likes no-man’s land.

21km to go: Kwiatkowski sets his stall out

With his team-mate on the march, Pidcock can just sit on, which means Van der Poel has to take it up himself. The Polish man has a lead of just over a corner. Nice move.
Meanwhile Benoot misjusdges a left-hander and have to go the wrong side of some cars.

25km to go: The Cauberg

Often a launchpad, it’s the third from last climb of this race. Marc Hirschi goes to the front at about 85%, but can’t create enough of a gap to make a difference and pulls right, knocking the attack on the head. Over the top Tom Pidcock goes on the attack with Dylan Teuns straight on his wheel. They're about to go through the finish for the last time and it's really kicking off now…

26km to go: Who’s going to go next?

They’re settling in and working reasonably well together to cement their lead but someone is sure to attack soon. They have to shake Van der Poel out, and they know it.

30km to go: Down to eleven

Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo Visma)
Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep - Alpha Vinyl)
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers)
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious)
Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroen)
Marc Hirschi (UAE Emirates)
Michael Matthews (Bike Exchange-Jayco)
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)
Alexander Kamp (Trek-Segafredo)
Stefan Kung (Groupama FDJ)
25 seconds to the second group on the road, another 15 to group three. Mohoric among the riders to have missed out on the selection.

34.5km to go: Kwiato puts in a dig on the Keutenberg

And it's a peloton-shatterer. It's countered by Tiesj Benoot as they go over the top, it’s getting really hard and Van der Poel is struggling to stay in touch. Pidcock has no problem, Asgreen and Hirschi are there as well. We have a selection of eleven riders at the front with Van der Poel “lucky” says Carlton to be among them. “That the first sign of weakness we’ve seen from him this year,” observes Adam Blythe.

38km to go: MVDP rides up on the Fromberg

The favourite has no more team-mates with him. Having falled back to about 15th place, he has to do all the work to get himself up to the front on his own. Ineos have three riders setting the pace, plus Pidcock, at the front, including Michal Kwiatkowski, who could well cause problems for Van der Poel with a well-timed attack. He can’t follow everything, can he? The pace is really high now, with riders struggling just to stay on the wheel.

45km to go: Ben Turner rides the break into extinction

The pressure Ineos Grenadiers have put on through these narrow, twisty roads, and painfully steep climbs has reduced the peloton significantly. Gaps are opening and growing but all the main contenders are still there. We (and they) are all waiting for the big attack from someone strong, because it’s sure to be coming. The Eyserbosweg (1.1km at 7.6%) has left one rider, Daan Hoole, out on his own. He won't be there for long. Tim Wellens is back on the front on the descent.

48km to go: Nathan van Hooydonck gets it wrong

On the front on the descent, he misjudges the corner, almost collides with a parked car and barely keeps it upright. No chance of staying with his group, that’s Van Hooydonck's day done.

52km to go: Hard climbing on the Gulperbergweg

Short, at a little over 500m, but averaging just under 10%, with ramps into the high teens, this mouthful of a climb is a test for everyone to stay in touch, as well as being an opportunity for the hardest riders to stretch it out and bring the pain to rivals’ legs. Tim Wellens comes to the front and Christophe Laporte marks him well(ens). They briefly have a gap but it's quickly snuffed out. The increase in pace from the peloton has strung it out and reduced the gap to the break to 25 seconds.

65km to go: 90 seconds the gap

Alpecin-Fenix are taking the responsibility of having the favourite among them seriously, heading the bunch, and controlling the pace of the peloton like the WorldTour outfit they aren’t (officially).
Ineos Grenadiers are also pretty prominent on the other side of the road, keeping Pidcock safe and making sure he’s able to go if he’s got the legs to do so.

The 6th Monument?

Though many tend to talk up Strade Bianche’s promotion prospects, having systematically dispatched them a month ago, if any race ought to be elevated, I would be inclined argue for this one. My case is three-fold:
It’s established, at more than fifty editions old
It’s long and hard, almost always well over 250km long, with leg-sapping climbs galore
It’s prestigious, with top tier UCI points on offer, and always attracting an all-star field.
Persuasive?

74km to go: Two strong men join the front group

With the break’s lead tumbling, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) and Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo Visma) took it upon themselves to peel off the front of peloton, pedalling their way up the road to add firepower to the leading group. Florian Senechal (QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl) is on a lone chase with the hopes of hooking up as well, but it's looking like a forlorn effort. Adam Blythe has just pointed out how unusual it is for this team to do that. "Are they clutching at straws at the moment?" asks Carlton Kirby. "Are they just not used to not being brilliant?"

Eurosport’s Pundit Picks

Dan Lloyd - Tom Pidcock
Adam Blythe - Mathieu van der Poel
Iris Slappendel - Mathieu van der Poel
Ilenia Lazzaro - Mathieu van der Poel
Audrey Cordon-Ragot - Valentin Madouas
Not quite a consensus, and a wildcard bet from French star Audrey Cordon-Ragot, but all eyes are on one man... Could that work against him? Will Pidcock have recovered sufficiently to go one podium step better than last year?

Can anyone stop Mathieu?

There are multiple reasons why Mathieu van der Poel is the firmest of favourites to win today’s race. The first is the simple fact that he’s Dutch. The second is his sublime winning performance in De Ronde last weekend. Third is the absence of Wout van Aert, still sidelined by illness. Lastly, well, there's this:

‘The greatest ambush ever’ - Mathieu van der Poel takes impossible Amstel Gold Race win

Who’s out front?

We have a group of six riders up the road - four from the WorldTour and two contis - holding a lead of three minutes over the peloton, which is a minute less than they had only 10km ago.
Ide Schelling (Bora Hansgrohe), Emīls Liepins (Trek-Segafredo), Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost), Johan Jacobs (Movistar), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen), Luca Rastelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè).
Not a bad bunch of breakers, that. ProCyclingStats tells us, however, that only two riders from the early break have ever won this race, with the last of those being Jelle Nijdam in 1988.
Flag fans may care to note that we have a completely cosmopolitan collective consisting of a Dutchman, an Austrian, a Brit, a Swiss, a Belgian and an Italian.
I’ll tell you who my money’s on in a while.

Welkom bij Limburg

…for the 56th edition of the Amstel Gold Race.
Some of you may be wondering why we’re in the ups and downs of the Ardennes already, rather than on the chaotic cobbles of the Hellish Nord region of France. The reason for the calendar bump is that the French presidential elections are taking place this weekend, and some things really are more important in western Europe than professional cycling.
We join the race just shy of 150km in, with 100km and 14 brutal bergs to race. It’s a temperate, sunny afternoon in the Netherlands, but it’s about to get a whole lot hotter.

Who fancies it?

With Covid sidelining defending champion Wout van Aert, Dutchman Tom Dumoulin will lead Jumbo-Visma alongside their strong classics stable of Christophe Laporte, Tiesj Benoot, Mike Teunissen and Nathan van Hooydonck.
No Van Aert is good news for the man who lost out to him last year, Tom Pidcock. He leads a strong Ineos Grenadiers squad with Flanders runner-up Dylan van Baarle, the 2015 winner Michal Kwiatkowski, and Ethan Hayter in support.
Four-time Amstel Gold winner Philippe Gilbert is on the Lotto Soudal roster. The only other former winner to feature is Denmark’s Michael Valgren although EF Education-EasyPost may see in Alberto Bettiol or Neilson Powless a better chance of outside glory.
Milan-San Remo winner Matej Mohoric will be on the startline in Limburg for Bahrain-Victorious alongside Dylan Teuns and Fred Wright.
Soren Kragh Andersen - known for his aggressive riding - is due a result for Team DSM, ditto Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies).
Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) will be aiming to follow up a strong showing during Flanders Week.

How to watch

Eurosport has you covered for both races, with coverage of the women’s race from 12:00 UK time and of the men’s race from 13:15. Juggle things carefully and you’ll be able to watch the climax to Stage 1 of the Tour of Turkey, too. You can also watch the Amstel Gold Race on discovery+ and GCN+.
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Watch all the best cycling action from the Spring Classics and the Grand Tours on Eurosport and discovery+.
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