Gilbert powers to repeat victory in Amstel Gold Race, Schleck move unsuccessful
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gilbert powers to repeat victory in Amstel Gold Race, Schleck move unsuccessful

by Shane Stokes at 11:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race
Belgian rider head and shoulders above his rivals in Dutch Classic

Philippe GilbertHe was marked like no other rider, and was forced to work to limit a dangerous attack by Andy Schleck inside the final 11 kilometres, but there was no stopping a hugely impressive Philippe Gilbert in today’s Amstel Gold Race. The defending champion went with a strong Joaquim Rodriguez on the final ascent of the Cauberg, covering the Spaniard’s move when Schleck was reeled in, then hitting the jets approximately 150 metres from the line.

He immediately opened a gap and despite celebrating for the final 50 metres, reached the line well clear of the Team Katusha rider. Simon Gerrans (Sky Procycling) came in a few lengths further back, netting his best result of the season, while the rest of that lead group was scattered back over the climb.

“My son was here today and I was very motivated because of that,” the Belgian said after the finish. “I wanted to make sure that I was on the podium.

“This is the most important week of my season. My team-mates worked real hard and I didn’t have to chase or attack once before the final. Only when Andy Schleck took 16 seconds I was forced to get up front. I’m not going to talk about other teams’ strategies. I was the big favourite, so I can even understand [them not working].”

Gilbert said that he didn’t panic when Schleck opened a decent lead. “I had good help with me, everyone in my team was in perfect condition. We had a very good preparation and I told them this morning to be ready.”

Things played out perfectly in the end, with Gilbert netting a rare back-to-back set of victories in the race. It marks him out as the clear favourite for Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne and next Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Rodriguez recognised that he was beaten by the better rider and, as such, he wasn’t too disappointed. “I’m very happy with this second place, because I have to admit Gilbert was the best rider today,” he said. “With seven kilometres left, I tried a breakaway in order to form a little group and avoid the final massive group sprint. In the last kilometre I tried to get an advantage over Gilbert, because as everybody saw in the last sprint he is much faster than me.

“Anyway, a second place in such an important race is a big prize for me because, between all of the races of the Ardennes Triple, the Amstel is the one that fits me worst. I think that, theoretically, both Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege are races that suit me better. Now the goal is to keep this condition as much as we can: I’m positive because, just in the right moment, the big work made by the team during the winter session is bearing fruit.”

Early move builds large advantage:

Taking place over narrow, twisting, undulating roads, the race saw a stream of early attacks, with none succeeding in staying ahead until Thomas Degand (Veranda's Willems Accent) Albert Timmer (Skil Shimano), Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Pierpaolo De Negri (Farnese-Vini-Neri Sottoli’s Pierpaolo De Negri) clipped away after just over 55 kilometres.

They built a lead of over 11 minutes, but the break split inside the final 80 kilometres. Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) set off in pursuit, then his team-mate Carlos Barredo took over and merged with the two leaders on the Bemelerberg, approximately 61 kilometres from the line.

The trio were then joined by Jan Ghyselinck (HTC-Highroad), making it four up front once again, and holding a slender 20 second lead over the peloton. However, with two fresh riders involved, the gap ramped up again and went out to one minute and ten seconds.

Gilbert’s Omega Pharma-Lotto team was doing most of the riding, and was then reinforced by a number of other squads. This brought the gap steadily downwards. With approximately 38 kilometres to go, Garmin-Cervélo’s David Millar ramped up the pace on the Loorberg, whittling down the peloton. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) then attacked, passing the leaders, but everything came back together soon afterwards.

Approximately 25 kilometres from the line, Frank Schleck crashed and brought down his Leopard Trek team-mate Fabian Cancellara. The duo chased but missed a crucial split caused when Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha) attacked 20 kilometres from the line.  He dragged a select group clear over the top of the Fromberg. Amongst the others who were present were Gilbert, his Omega Pharma Lotto team-mates Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Jelle Vanendert, as well as Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha), Simon Gerrans (Sky Procycling), Andy Schleck and Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek), Oscar Freire, Robert Gesink and Paul Maertens (Rabobank), Bjorn Leukemans and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil DCM) plus Ben Hermans (Team RadioShack).

Vanendert pushed the pace for several kilometres, bringing them onto the Keutenberg climb, 13 kilometres from the line. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leapt clear very soon after the start, opening a few seconds’ lead. However Gilbert didn’t panic, and stayed glued to his team-mate’s wheel.

Schleck makes a big bid for success:

Kolobnev countered Rodriguez’s recapture, pushing ahead 12 kilometres from the line. However the move was covered; almost immediately, Andy Schleck attacked on a false flat and opened a decent lead. He went clear close to the same point where his brother Frank attacked en route to victory in 2006 and quickly opened gap over the group, which was again being led by Vanendert.

Going under the ten kilometre to go banner, he had established a lead of six seconds. That prompted Gilbert himself to take up the pace-setting behind, realising that Schleck couldn’t be allowed gain too much ground. His team-mate was grateful for the relief, but came back to the front soon afterwards and started swapping through with his team leader.

The others realised that they too had to contribute and Hoogerland helped out. Gilbert was wary of doing too much and dropped to the back of the group, hoping that his absence up front would encourage the others to do their share. With five kilometres to go he was seen arguing briefly with Robert Gesink about why Rabobank wasn’t helping; meanwhile, Vanendert was continuing to ride with Hoogerland at the head of the group.

It seemed dangerous to his chances, but Gilbert moved back up to the front with four kilometres remaining, driving the pace once more and then leading the group down the descent. He split it in two, although a regrouping would take place at the base.

Under the kite, Schleck curved through the streets, being cheered on by massive crowds. Vanendert came back to the front to try to give Gilbert some relief, and it became clear that the gap was narrow enough to get Schleck back. Rodriguez was the one to make the junction, gunning it approximately 350 metres from the top and flicking by the fading Luxembourg rider.

Gilbert played things perfectly, sitting on his wheel and biding his time. Looking back, he saw that the gap was opening over those behind and he kicked hard, coming around Rodriguez’s right and powering ahead to win easily.

Gilbert was asked after the race if he could be considered the best Classics rider in history. That’s very premature, but he does recognise that he’s achieved big things. “Let’s wait until my career is over [before judging it – ed.]. I’m definitely the most all-round rider at this moment. I’ve won the Amstel Gold Race twice, won the Tour of Lombardia and got close to the win in Milaan-Sanremo and the Tour of Flanders. Liège is going to be tough.”

To win next weekend will depend on him getting things right in terms of tactics. He said that today’s race was about strength, and that the nature of the race meant that it was relatively easy to get right. “You can’t trick anyone [here] like in Flanders or Roubaix, as has happened in the past. On the Cauberg, the strongest rider wins.”

Today, he certainly proved that to be the case.


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Amstel Gold Race, Netherlands (WorldTour) Results: Maastricht to Valkenburg (261 km)

  Click on the arrowsat the top of the column to sort the race results.
Country Result Name Team Time
bel BEL 1 Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) 06:30:44
esp ESP 2 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha) 00:00:02
aus AUS 3 Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) 00:00:04
den DEN 4 Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek) 00:00:05
rus RUS 5 Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) s.t.
esp ESP 6 Oscar Gomez Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
bel BEL 7 Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) 00:00:07
bel BEL 8 Ben Hermans (RadioShack) 00:00:18
ned NED 9 Robert Gesink (Rabobank) 00:00:19
ger GER 10 Paul Martens (Rabobank) 00:00:26
lux LUX 11 Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) 00:00:28
ned NED 12 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) 00:00:36
bel BEL 13 Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) 00:00:48
esp ESP 14 Daniel Moreno Fernandéz (Katusha) 00:01:38
ita ITA 15 Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) 00:01:39
fra FRA 16 Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) 00:01:44
kaz KAZ 17 Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) 00:02:09
bel BEL 18 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
ned NED 19 Bram Tankink (Rabobank) 00:02:10
ger GER 20 Fabian Wegmann (Leopard-Trek) 00:02:13
den DEN 21 Nicki Sörensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard) 00:02:14
lux LUX 22 Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
bel BEL 23 Staf Scheirlinckx (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
bel BEL 24 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) 00:02:15
ita ITA 25 Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-ISD) s.t.
ita ITA 26 Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) 00:02:18
bel BEL 27 Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) s.t.
brazilie.png BRAZILIE.PNG 28 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:02:20
bel BEL 29 Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) 00:02:21
fra FRA 30 Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) s.t.
nor NOR 31 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky) s.t.
fra FRA 32 Biel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
bel BEL 33 Jerome Baugnies (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 00:02:23
bel BEL 34 Jan Bakelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
ita ITA 35 Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) 00:02:24
usa USA 36 Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad) s.t.
slo SLO 37 Kristjan Koren (Liquigas-Cannondale) s.t.
fra FRA 38 Mickael Cherel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) 00:02:26
ger GER 39 Simon Geschke (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
rus RUS 40 Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) 00:02:27
ned NED 41 Addy Engels (Quick Step) s.t.
rus RUS 42 Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) 00:02:28
bel BEL 43 Bert De Waele (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
irl IRL 44 Philip Deignan (RadioShack) s.t.
ita ITA 45 Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-ISD) s.t.
fra FRA 46 Julien El Fares (Cofidis) s.t.
ita ITA 47 Francesco Reda (Quick Step) 00:02:29
ita ITA 48 Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) s.t.
ita ITA 49 Mauro Santambrogio (BMC Racing) s.t.
esp ESP 50 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
nor NOR 51 Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
bel BEL 52 Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) 00:02:34
ita ITA 53 Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing) 00:02:36
ger GER 54 Christian Knees (Team Sky) 00:02:40
fra FRA 55 Geoffroy Lequatre (RadioShack) 00:02:46
esp ESP 56 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
gbr GBR 57 Steven Cummings (Team Sky) s.t.
bel BEL 58 Davy Commeijne (Landbouwkrediet) 00:02:47
irl IRL 59 Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
esp ESP 60 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:02:48
fra FRA 61 Jérome Pineau (Quick Step) s.t.
sui SUI 62 Michael Albasini (HTC-Highroad) 00:02:54
bel BEL 63 Maxime Monfort (Leopard-Trek) 00:02:57
sui SUI 64 Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
blr BLR 65 Vasil Kiryienka (Movistar) 00:02:58
esp ESP 66 Luis Sánchez () s.t.
sui SUI 67 Martin Elmiger (Ag2r-La Mondiale) 00:03:21
fra FRA 68 Rémy Di Gregorio (Astana) 00:03:25
bel BEL 69 Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) 00:03:57
bel BEL 70 Sander Armee (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 00:04:19
sui SUI 71 Martin Kohler (BMC Racing) s.t.
ita ITA 72 Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli) 00:04:39
ita ITA 73 Luca Mazzanti (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli) s.t.
kaz KAZ 74 Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana) s.t.
fin FIN 75 Kjell Carlström (Team Sky) 00:04:48
bel BEL 76 Pieter Serry (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 00:05:54
ned NED 77 Dirk Bellemakers (Landbouwkrediet) 00:05:55
bel BEL 78 James Vanlandschoot (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
bel BEL 79 Geert Verheyen (Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
bel BEL 80 Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
bel BEL 81 Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) 00:05:59
ned NED 82 Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) s.t.
ger GER 83 Johannes Frohlinger (Skil-Shimano) 00:06:00
ned NED 84 Marc De Maar (Quick Step) s.t.
esp ESP 85 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:06:01
esp ESP 86 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
kaz KAZ 87 Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) 00:06:02
usa USA 88 Matthew Busche (RadioShack) s.t.
ven VEN 89 Jose Rojas () s.t.
usa USA 90 Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:06:03
gbr GBR 91 Daniel Lloyd (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
ita ITA 92 Paolo Longho Borghini (Liquigas-Cannondale) 00:06:04
pol POL 93 Maciej Paterski (Liquigas-Cannondale) s.t.
esp ESP 94 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (RadioShack) 00:06:05
bel BEL 95 Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) s.t.
aus AUS 96 Mathew Hayman (Team Sky) 00:06:27
esp ESP 97 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Rabobank) s.t.
svk SVK 98 Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) 00:06:31
uzb UZB 99 Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM) 00:07:18
bel BEL 100 Jurgen Van Goolen (Veranda's Willems - Accent) 00:08:03
ita ITA 101 Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing) 00:08:13
esp ESP 102 Benat Intxausti (Movistar) 00:08:14
bel BEL 103 Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) s.t.
fra FRA 104 Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) 00:08:15
sui SUI 105 David Loosli (Lampre-ISD) s.t.
swe SWE 106 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) 00:08:25
bel BEL 107 Thomas Degand (Veranda's Willems - Accent) s.t.
ger GER 108 Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) 00:09:11
ned NED 109 Roy Curvers (Skil-Shimano) 00:09:12
ukr UKR 110 Andriy Grivko (Astana) s.t.
ltu LTU 111 Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar) s.t.
den DEN 112 Brian Vandborg (Saxo Bank-Sungard) 00:09:13
gbr GBR 113 David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
ita ITA 114 Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli) s.t.
ita ITA 115 Leonardo Giordani (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli) s.t.
esp ESP 116 Jesús Hernández Blazquez (Saxo Bank-Sungard) 00:09:14
est EST 117 Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) 00:09:16
ned NED 118 Michel Kreder (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:09:17
ita ITA 119 Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) 00:12:24
fra FRA 120 Matthieu Sprick (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
pol POL 121 Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank-Sungard) 00:12:25
ita ITA 122 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Lampre-ISD) 00:12:26
sui SUI 123 Simon Zahner (BMC Racing) s.t.
fra FRA 124 Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) s.t.
ned NED 125 Bram Schmitz (Veranda's Willems - Accent) 00:12:27
bel BEL 126 Klaas Lodewyck (Omega Pharma-Lotto ) s.t.
ita ITA 127 Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) 00:13:18
ita ITA 128 Pier Paolo De Negri (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli) s.t.
ned NED 129 Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) 00:13:19
ita ITA 130 Francesco Bellotti (Liquigas-Cannondale) s.t.
bel BEL 131 Sebastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet) 00:13:21
usa USA 132 Jeff Louder (BMC Racing) s.t.
usa USA 133 Danny Pate (HTC-Highroad) 00:13:24
lat LAT 134 Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis) 00:13:28
kaz KAZ 135 Assan Bazayev (Astana) 00:13:31
bel BEL 136 Maxime Vantomme (Katusha) 00:13:33
ger GER 137 John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) 00:13:34
bel BEL 138 Jan Ghyselinck (HTC-Highroad) 00:13:44
ned NED 139 Reinier Honig (Landbouwkrediet) 00:13:48
bel BEL 140 Gregory Habeaux (Veranda's Willems - Accent) 00:13:59
can CAN 141 Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) 00:14:14
ita ITA 142 Davide Appollonio (Team Sky) 00:15:03
esp ESP DNF Alan Lezaun Perez (Euskaltel - Euskadi)  
ned NED DNF Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)  
ita ITA DNF Alessandro Spezialetti (Lampre-ISD)  
den DEN DNF Anders Lund (Leopard-Trek)  
ned NED DNF Arnoud Van Groen (Veranda's Willems - Accent)  
bel BEL DNF Benjamin Gourgue (Landbouwkrediet)  
bel BEL DNF Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkrediet)  
usa USA DNF Caleb Fairly (HTC-Highroad)  
fra FRA DNF Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale)  
ita ITA DNF Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale)  
ita ITA DNF Davide Ricci Bitti (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli)  
ita ITA DNF Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD)  
ger GER DNF Dominik Nerz (Liquigas-Cannondale)  
ita ITA DNF Elia Favilli (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli)  
esp ESP DNF Enrique Sanz Unzue (Movistar)  
bel BEL DNF Gert Dockx (Omega Pharma-Lotto )  
ita ITA DNF Gianluca Mirenda (Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli)  
sui SUI DNF Gregory Rast (RadioShack)  
fra FRA DNF Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale)  
swe SWE DNF Gustav Erik Larsson (Saxo Bank-Sungard)  
ger GER DNF Jens Voigt (Leopard-Trek)  
bel BEL DNF Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator)  
bel BEL DNF Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo)  
esp ESP DNF Jon Izagirre Insausti (Euskaltel - Euskadi)  
den DEN DNF Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard)  
ven VEN DNF José García ()  
bel BEL DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto )  
fin FIN DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto )  
ned NED DNF Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano)  
nor NOR DNF Kurt-asle Arvesen (Team Sky)  
lux LUX DNF Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank-Sungard)  
esp ESP DNF Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Cofidis)  
ned NED DNF Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank)  
den DEN DNF Mads Christensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard)  
ita ITA DNF Manuele Mori (Lampre-ISD)  
sui SUI DNF Mathias Frank (BMC Racing)  
irl IRL DNF Matthew Brammeier (HTC-Highroad)  
aus AUS DNF Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano)  
ita ITA DNF Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale)  
ned NED DNF Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil-DCM)  
por POR DNF Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Movistar)  
nzl NZL DNF Sam Bewley (RadioShack)  
por POR DNF Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (RadioShack)  
ita ITA DNF Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale)  
ned NED DNF Stefan Van Dijk (Veranda's Willems - Accent)  
bel BEL DNF Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator)  
fra FRA DNF Yann Huguet (Skil-Shimano)  
rus RUS DNF Yuri Trofimov (Katusha)  

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