AMSTEL GOLD RACE’19: Magical Mathieu!
Race Report: Mathieu van der Poel won his home race in a fascinating finalé of the Amstel Gold Race. After a failed attack at 44 kilometres out, the Dutch champion looked out of the race, but with a hard chase, he single handed pulled the race together and won the sprint. Twenty-nine years after father, Adrie van der Poel.
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) was the hero of the day in the Amstel Gold Race. After 260 hard kilometres, the Dutch champion sprinted over the line first from a group he had pulled to the finish. In the final kilometres the race looked to be sown-up by Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), but the power of the young Van der Poel was too strong for everyone.
265 kilometre and 35 climbs were on the menu for the peloton in a hot Limburg on Sunday. The break soon formed: Nick van der Lijke (Roompot-Charles), Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Gobert), Aaron Verwilst, Thomas Sprengers (both Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Cycling Academy) and Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Gobert), Michael Schär (CCC), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Grega Bole (Bahrain Merida), Marcel Meisen (Corendon-Circus) and Paolo Simon (Bardiani-CSF) soon gained over 8 minutes on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Astana led peloton.
The peloton waited a long time before putting in a big chase, but with 50 kilometres to go the lead was under a minute. At the Gulperberg, 44 kilometres out, there was an attack from Mathieu van der Poel, who was joined by Gorka Izagirre (Astana). The Spanish champion didn’t want to work, so the pair were caught before the Kruisberg.
As they were brought back on the Eyserbosweg, Deceuninck – Quick-Step came to the front for Dries Devenyns to launch Julian Alaphilippe, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Jakob Fuglsang up the road. Alaphilippe went solo and Fuglsang managed to get to him.
At the top of the Eyserbosweg, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) and Michael Woods (EF Education First) joined Trentin. The gap between the two leading groups was around fifteen-seconds. The peloton was over a minute behind and seemed finished.
On the Keutenberg there were attacks from behind, but the gaps stayed the same, although Woods was dropped by Trentin and Kwiatkowski, who could see the leaders just before the last climb of the Cauberg. Fuglsang put in some strong pulls and the lead rose again.
In the peloton of around 20 riders, four EF Education First men took charge of the work, but attacks by Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) mixed up the chase on the Cauberg. It became a battlefield behind Kwiatkowski and Trentin. For the last climb of the day – the Bemelerberg – Schachmann, Mollema and Clarke tried to get closer to a podium place.
Fuglsang continued to ride with Alaphilippe, knowing that the Frenchman has a better sprint. On the Bemelerberg, the Dane tried a jump, but Alaphilippe counter him easily. Fuglsang tried again at 4.5 kilometres, but again the Frenchman was on the wheel.
The last kilometers were flat to the finish in Berg and Terblijt. Alaphilippe and Fuglsang slowed right down waiting for the other to open the sprint, but this allowed Kwiatkowski to catch them and come straight to the front. Just behind the fast moving Polish champion, Van der Poel had towed the others to make contact as the sprint started from Alaphilippe. With 300 meters to go, the Dutch champion burst past to hold everyone off for the win.
First shaking his head with disbelief, he then fell to the floor in exhaustion, relief and happiness.
Amstel Gold Race Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 6:28:18
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC
8. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama – FDJ
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
11. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:02
12. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
13. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:46
14. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
15. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:54
16. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
17. Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
18. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data
19. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott
20. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
21. Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
22. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
23. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
24. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
25. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Katusha Alpecin.