Enrico Gasparotto wins Amstel Gold Race

Italian gets first Classics victory

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com

Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team) won a thrilling Amstel Gold Race, timing his sprint to perfection atop the Cauberg, to win ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol Team) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Three time world champion Oscar Freire (Katusha Team) finished fourth after his bold attack in the closing 7 kilometres was caught in the final meters of the race. Two-time defending champion, Philippe Gilbert, (BMC Racing Team) had to settle for sixth behind Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

BMC had controlled the race throughout much of the closing stages but Gilbert was left to do all the work on the final ascent of the Cauberg. His acceleration first brought back Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuckStep) and then Freire's dying legs to within touching distance. However the move proved as a spring board for the podium placers.

Sagan was the first rider to come around the Belgian champion but he too ran out of gas, with Gasparotto accelerating on his left and Vanendert on his right.

Maastricht treaty lasts until opening climbs

The riders had left the chilly start city of Maastricht with a blessing of rain drops and a cold northern wind on their noses. Typically many riders tried break clear on the first of the 31 climbs but nobody gained enough in the first hour of the race, which was covered at 45kph.

After nearly 60 kilometers of racing a large group finally was allowed to go. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Pello Bilbao (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Barracuda), Alex Howes (Garmin-Barracuda), Steven Caethoven (Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda), Cedric Pineau (FDJ-Big Mat), Simone Stortoni (Lampre-ISD), Sébastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) and Eliot Lietar (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) were the lucky men.

During the second hour they gathered a maximum lead of 13:30 on the peloton, with no teams wanting to chase. Eventually RadioShack-Nissan, BMC and Katusha took the responsibility and gradually the gap went down.

When approaching the second ascent of the Cauberg the pace in the peloton increased even more and after the Vrakelberg a first group of riders was caught behind the peloton, including outsider Cadel Evans (BMC). In front, the breakaway group lost ground. On top of the Cauberg the gap was down to less than five minutes and that was also where Evans abandoned the race.

Fans from Luxembourg on the course

With 55 km to go the breakaway group still had four minutes on the peloton. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) went down on the Bemelerberg and even though he was assisted by a couple of teammates his race was almost over. When the pace increased inside the final 30 kilometres he was dropped. Meanwhile Danish rider Matti Breschel (Rabobank) also abandoned the race.

The Wolfsberg, at 41km from the finish line on the Cauberg, was the first of the last string of eight climbs. It proved to be the ground where the Astana moved forward. The gap quickly dropped below two minutes and the speed went up another notch when Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank) attacked the peloton, without much success.

In front Bardet, Bilbao, Howes and Stortoni dropped their fellow breakaway companions although Kreder and Delfosse returned little later. The six remaining leaders entered the last 30km with an advantage of 1:10.

The break split further when Bardet and Howes accelerated again.

Boasson Hagen was the first contender to attack inside the final 15 kilometres but the Sky rider was unable to gain more than 100 meters, with the BMC trio of Mauro Santambrogio, Greg Van Avermaet and Gilbert holding court at the head of the race.

Avermaet, was the perfect teammate, sacrificing his chances for Gilbert, who was either confident of taking on Sagan in the sprint or lacked the legs to attack earlier.

On the penultimate climb of the Keutenberg, Boasson Hagen was swiftly brought back, with Bardet shelling his breakaway companion for the second and final time.

Sky, Astana and Katusha were able to send probing attacks off the front, and Thomas Voeckler and Sagan went briefly alone, but it was Freire who struck a decisive blow with 7km to go, just after Bardet was finally swallowed up.

Freire has never made the podium in Amstel and with Rabobank having such a poor race with Breschel out and Gesink already dropped, Freire's former Dutch team must have been reeling when the Spaniard had a gap of 13 seconds.

But it wouldn't be a Spring Classic without Omega Pharma-Quickstep having their say, and Niki Terpstra accelerated away in pursuit of the Spaniard as the race descended from the Keutenberg.

At the foot of the Cauberg Terpstra had failed to make contact, with a tiring Van Avermaet leading a 20-strong group with Gilbert latched to his wheel.

Gilbert's attack displayed elements of panic and reluctant acceptance at the same time, the rider well aware that everyone was watching him, while also knowing that Freire was on the cusp of a shock win.

Terpstra was quickly reeled in and Gilbert's second acceleration caused the chase group to splinter. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) crashed along with Lars-Peter Nordhaug (Sky), and with a fading Freire unable to hold on the race came down to the strongest, but also the freshest in the sprint for the line.

Results

1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana 6:32:35
2 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:02
4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
8 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:04
9 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
11 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
12 Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan
13 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
14 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:09
15 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda
16 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:12
17 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
18 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
19 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
20 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:19
21 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
23 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:22
25 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:30
26 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:36
27 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
28 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
29 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana
30 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:47
31 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:51
32 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:05
33 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
34 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
35 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD
36 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
37 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
38 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:01:17
39 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
40 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
41 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:01:30
42 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
43 Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 0:02:03
44 Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos - Shimano
45 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
46 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano
47 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
48 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team
49 Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar
50 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
51 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
52 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
55 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
56 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
57 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD
58 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
59 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
60 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
61 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
62 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
63 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:21
64 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi
65 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
66 Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
67 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana
68 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team Astana
69 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
70 Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
71 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
72 Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
73 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
74 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
75 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda
76 David Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
77 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
78 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana
79 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:40
80 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:02:51
81 Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 0:03:01
82 Christopher Horner (USA) Radioshack-Nissan 0:03:19
83 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:43
84 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:04:32
85 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
86 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:46
87 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team
88 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
89 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
90 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda
91 Andy Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan 0:05:39
92 Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
93 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
94 Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar
95 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
96 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
97 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos - Shimano
98 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
99 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
100 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
101 Troels Ronning Vinther (Den) Team Saxo Bank
102 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:07:00
103 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD
104 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
105 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD
106 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling
107 Yann Huguet (Fra) Argos - Shimano
108 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling
109 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team
110 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana 0:07:33
111 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar
112 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:08:02
113 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
114 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
115 Reinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
116 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team
117 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos - Shimano
118 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan 0:11:26
119 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
120 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
121 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team
122 Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
123 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
124 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:11:31
125 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
126 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar
127 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
128 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
129 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
130 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
131 Daryl Impey (RSA) GreenEdge Cycling Team
132 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
133 Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
134 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
135 Simon Clarke (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
136 Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
137 Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
138 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
139 Borut Bozic (Slo) Pro Team Astana
140 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos - Shimano
141 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD
142 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
143 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
144 Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team
145 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
DNF Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
DNF Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
DNF Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
DNF Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
DNF Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
DNF Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
DNF Jens Keukeleire (Bel) GreenEdge Cycling Team
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team
DNF Christian Meier (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team
DNF Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team
DNF Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team
DNF Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) Lampre - ISD
DNF Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
DNF Stefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNF Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
DNF Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
DNF Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team
DNF Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
DNF Laurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan
DNF Joost Posthuma (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan
DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
DNF Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling
DNF Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling
DNF Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNF Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
DNF Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
DNF Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
DNF Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's
DNF Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
DNF Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
DNF Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
DNF Roberto De Patre (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
DNF Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
DNF Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos - Shimano
DNF Albert Timmer (Ned) Argos - Shimano
DNF Franck Bouyer (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator

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