Amstel Gold: Kreuziger denies favourites


Saxo-Tinkoff rider Roman Kreuziger denied the favourites a win in the Dutch classic, the Amstel Gold race after a brilliant finale on the climbs where legends are born

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Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) won solo, after attacking the peloton with about 17km to go, catching a breakaway and carrying on the solo effort with 7km to go and resisting attempts to catch him. He had enough of a gap at the top of the Cauberg to stay away for the victory. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) was 2nd, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) 3rd.

Report from Saxo Tinkoff
The Spring finally showed mercy on the riders in the 251 kilometre Dutch one-day classic, Amstel Gold Race where a group consisting of Tim De Troyer (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Alexandre Pliuschin (IAM), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel), Arthur Van Overberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen), Nicolas Vogondy (Accent Jobs), Klaas Sys (Crelan-Euphony) and Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) formed the early breakaway.


Half way into the race, a big crash in the front part of the field held up many favourites including World champion, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) but after ten kilometers of chasing, they rejoined the field. A group of 25 riders with Team Blanco as the big engine took advantage of the crash and set a fierce pace to keep the favorites out of the race.

Video of the final kilometres

The two groups behind the escapees joined soon after and then Katusha and Movistar picked up the pace heading towards the finale in Valkenburg. And as the peloton was coming closer, Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) decided to move away from the front group and Alexandre Pliuschin (IAM) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) joined him. However, the Spaniard wasn’t happy about the pace and dropped his two companions on the following climb with 44 kilometers to go and a gap of 2.30 minutes to the main field.

On top of the first climb of Cauberg, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger launched a solid attack and he bridged the gap to a chase group behind the leading rider, Asterloza (Euskaltel) and soon, the Spaniard was caught by the Kreuziger-group of seven riders.

In the peloton, Canondale and Omega-Pharma Quick Step worked hard to bring the escapees back but with seven kilometers to go, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger created the gap and soloed his way towards Cauberg. And even though, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) launched a violent attack from the field, no one was able to catch the Team Saxo-Tinkoff rider who soloed across the finish line as the winner of Amstel Gold Race 2013.


Kreuziger explained “Today, we had two captains, Nicki Sørensen and me and with Karsten Kroon as our GPS. The whole team did an excellent job out there and I was fully prepared for the finale and I feeling strong all the way. On the final climb of Cauberg, I just looked down and pedalled without thinking so much.”

[pullquote]I was fully prepared for the finale and I feeling strong all the way. On the final climb of Cauberg, I just looked down and pedalled without thinking so much[/pullquote]

“I’m really happy about this win and it goes to the whole team for a job well done,” added Kreuziger after his magnificent victory. But the victory will not be celebrated with a party: ”Maybe we’ll have a glas of champagne tonight but there’s a tough week ahead of us and we have to focus on the job,” Kreuziger concludes.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Philippe Mauduit was naturally thrilled after the stunning victory ”It’s one of those days where everything just come together perfectly. The rider has each been given an assignment and every one them does his job. Right before Roman goes in the first break, the riders are told to be attentive as the teams were all losing riders and a chase was hard to establish.”

“Roman does this race perfectly and attacks at a time and a place which everyone around him knows is crucial but no one had the legs to follow him and he’s going solo to the finish line taking one of the most beautiful wins this Spring,” said a very happy Mauduit.

Alejandro Valverde shows excellent form before Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Third in the 2008 race, Alejandro Valverde started the 48th Amstel Gold Race with the aim of conquering the only Ardennes classic still not in his palmarès, and the Movistar Team proved to have the legs needed to make it onto the highest step of the podium.

Valverde: “The finale was similar to the Worlds one, because Gilbert went away with equal strength and made the difference there. This time I was able to follow him and beat him at the finish. It was sad Kreuziger was still at the front, but he did impressive work and deserves this victory. I’m really happy with my second place.”

“I’m not disappointed at all, because we performed well and my form was good. I feel like I have more stamina and reached the finale of this long race in better condition than in the past. This obviously gives me confidence for the two classics coming up.”

“More than Flèche, which I will approach in a more cautious way, I’m focused on Liège, the one that suits me the best. We could see I was strong today. Let’s hope we have some luck on Sunday to chase for that big goal.”

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie
Simon Gerrans equalled his best Amstel Gold Race finish on Sunday after riding a tactically sound race matching the pace of World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). “I’m satisfied with the result,” said Gerrans. “Everybody did their jobs perfectly.”

“When you do what you plan to do and it doesn’t eventuate into the hoped for result, you still have to be happy. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t racing for the win at the end, but a podium finish in a big race like Amstel Gold is still satisfying.”

“With Pieter up the road, we could just sit back and follow counter attacks,” noted Gerrans. “That was Alba’s [Michael Albasini’s] job. He followed moves and we saved our energy for the final. It was full gas up the Cauberg,” said Gerrans. “Simon [Clarke] and Daryl [Impey] put me in the perfect position. I was third or fourth wheel at the base of the Cauberg.”

“Right as I was about to make my move, Gilbert got past me. We powered past everyone from Pieter’s break except for Kreuziger. Gilbert gapped me over the top,” Gerrans continued. “I had Valverde on my wheel, and he came around me on the summit and dropped me. I caught him, and together, we caught Gilbert. Then, it was a sprint for second.”

[pullquote]”Right as I was about to make my move, Gilbert got past me. We powered past everyone from Pieter’s break except for Kreuziger[/pullquote]

Gilbert opened the sprint, but both Valverde and Gerrans were able to come around the World Champion with Valverde edging out Gerans for second place.

Quickstep’s Kwiatkowski 4th
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski was able to stay near the front of the 34 climb, 251km Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, even making his way into a select group on a slightly adjusted parcour that was sure to make the race one of attrition.

“I felt good actually two weeks after Flanders,” Kwiatkowski said. “I went back home for a few days, rested a few days there and then went to Granada to train with my teammates there. I did good training and still felt fine. I didn’t know before the race how I would feel after 250km, but in the end it was okay.”

“Gianni and I were protected today. I was trying to stay near the front because I knew it was so tricky this parcour. There can be many crashes, as you saw with many of them in the back. I actually was a few times in the back and that was good enough for me. As for the final, I did a little mistake and was too far behind, and there was a crosswind from the left side.”

“I was just behind Sagan when Gilbert attacked. He lost the wheel of Gilbert and I was trying to follow Gilbert but I couldn’t. I tried to go to the top with the other guys and tried to do the sprint, not worry about catching the first rider.”

[pullquote]”I was just behind Sagan when Gilbert attacked. He lost the wheel of Gilbert and I was trying to follow Gilbert but I couldn’t.[/pullquote]

“Finally, I had really good legs for the sprint. I could do better on the sprint but am happy about my condition and also the teamwork. I am satisfied with what my teammates did for me, and want to thank them. I will do Fleche and Liege for more experience. I felt really good on the Cauberg but the final of Fleche is much harder, but we will see. I will take it day by day.”

Quickstep’s other favourite Gianni Meersman said “I crashed with 100km to go, but then came back, OK no problem. Then with 50km to go I had a flat tire, but came back again, and at the Keutenberg I was empty. From there I had to say ‘bye bye.’ It’s a shame, but after three weeks of not racing and missing a little bit of competition I felt pretty good.”

“Now I go home, and then I will do Tour de Romandie. I want to be good there. Last year I was 2nd, and then 4th in stages. So I want to be a protagonist there.”

World Champion Gilbert said “I tried it at the Cauberg. But it wasn’t enough; they came back and I just missed the podium.” Gilbert had a bit of a scare with about 90 km to go when a pile-up split the peloton. Though he was unhurt, Gilbert needed a new BMC bike and with the help of several teammates, eventually rejoined the peloton after a chase of more than 15 kilometres.

“It took a lot of work,” BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “We lost two or three riders in the process. The gap gets quite large when you’re on the ground and need a bike change. It’s not like 30 seconds – it was more like two minutes.”

Sagan Cramps Up
Many people’s over whelming favourite, Peter Sagan cramped up in the finale and slid back while the favourites motored on ahead. “Today I could not express myself the way I wanted,” said Sagan. “As long as I was in the group, I was feeling good but then in the end when I pressed hard on the pedals, I suffered from cramp.”

[pullquote]As long as I was in the group, I was feeling good but then in the end when I pressed hard on the pedals, I suffered from cramp.”[/pullquote]

“The heat has certainly had an impact. In the last two months I have always raced with low temperatures and today my legs have suffered from the change of climate. The distance did not affect me as I have always held up well as in San Remo and Flanders. So I do not think it’s even a question of fatigue. So far, I did the same as last year’s program and the results were more than satisfactory. It ‘was just a bad day because of cramps. ”

“I always like to think optimistic. Its been a great season of Classics and I can be more than happy. If a race does not go as planned, not all is lost because of what we have done so far. For Fleche Wallonne, I will decide tomorrow morning with the team whether to ride or not” he concluded.

1 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff 06:35:21
2 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team 00:22
3 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
4 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
5 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team @ st
6 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Sky Procycling @ st
7 LEUKEMANS Bjorn Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
8 WEENING Pieter Orica GreenEDGE @ st
9 GASPAROTTO Enrico Astana Pro Team @ st
10 MOLLEMA Bauke Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
11 CARUSO Giampaolo Katusha Team @ st
12 WEGMANN Fabian Garmin – Sharp @ st
13 VANENDERT Jelle Lotto Belisol Team @ st
14 SøRENSEN Nicki Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
15 NORDHAUG Lars Petter Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
16 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team @ st
17 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team 00:25
18 GESCHKE Simon Team Argos – Shimano 00:36
19 KOLOBNEV Alexandr Katusha Team @ st
20 GAVAZZI Francesco Astana Pro Team @ st
21 MORENO FERNANDéZ Daniel Katusha Team @ st
22 VAUGRENARD Benoit Equipe Cycliste FDJ @ st
23 BERARD Julien AG2R La Mondiale @ st
24 ARASHIRO Yukiya Team Europcar @ st
25 ULISSI Diego Lampre – Merida @ st
26 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin – Sharp @ st
27 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura 00:46
28 LAGUTIN Sergey Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
29 HERMANS Ben RadioShack – Leopard @ st
30 MARTENS Paul Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
31 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
32 IGLINSKIY Maxim Astana Pro Team @ st
33 PIETROPOLLI Daniele Lampre – Merida @ st
34 VELITS Peter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:57
35 GRIVKO Andriy Astana Pro Team @ st
36 SAGAN Peter Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
37 PONZI Simone Astana Pro Team 01:07
38 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
39 GALLOPIN Tony RadioShack – Leopard 01:11
40 MORI Manuele Lampre – Merida @ st
41 CHEREL Mikael AG2R La Mondiale @ st
42 AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA Andrey Movistar Team @ st
43 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre – Merida @ st
44 TEN DAM Laurens Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
45 PINEAU J̩rome Omega Pharma РQuick-Step @ st
46 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 01:31
47 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar RadioShack – Leopard @ st
48 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale @ st
49 ASTARLOZA Mikel Euskaltel – Euskadi @ st
50 ELMIGER Martin IAM Cycling 01:44
51 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE 01:48
52 TANNER David Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
53 VANDEWALLE Kristof Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
54 MARCATO Marco Vacansoleil – DCM 02:13
55 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE 02:16
56 BURGHARDT Marcus BMC Racing Team @ st
57 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 05:01
58 JACOBS Pieter Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 05:27
59 MOINARD Amaël BMC Racing Team @ st
60 VANTOMME Maxime Crelan-Euphony @ st
61 VISCONTI Giovanni Movistar Team @ st
62 DUMOULIN Tom Team Argos – Shimano @ st
63 MONFORT Maxime RadioShack – Leopard @ st
64 HOLLENSTEIN Reto IAM Cycling @ st
65 BUSCHE Matthew RadioShack – Leopard @ st
66 CARUSO Damiano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
67 DE MARCHI Alessandro Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
68 VICHOT Arthur Equipe Cycliste FDJ 06:29
69 MONTAGUTI Matteo AG2R La Mondiale @ st
70 DE CLERCQ Bart Lotto Belisol Team @ st
71 PLIUSCHIN Alexandr IAM Cycling @ st
72 RUIJGH Rob Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
73 KROON Karsten Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ st
74 KREDER Michel Garmin – Sharp 06:34
75 HAAS Nathan Garmin – Sharp 09:12
76 PARISIEN Francois Team Argos – Shimano @ st
77 LIGTHART Pim Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
78 BRANDLE Matthias IAM Cycling @ st
79 DENIFL Stefan IAM Cycling @ st
80 JEROME Vincent Team Europcar @ st
81 BENEDETTI Cesare Team NetApp – Endura @ st
82 DELFOSSE Sebastien Crelan-Euphony @ st
83 JUODVALKIS Egidijus Crelan-Euphony @ st
84 PATERSKI Maciej Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ st
85 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
86 DEKKER Thomas Garmin – Sharp @ st
87 CURVERS Roy Team Argos – Shimano @ st
88 LAMMERTINK Maurits Vacansoleil – DCM @ st
89 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ st
90 HAYMAN Mathew Sky Procycling @ st
91 BONNET William Equipe Cycliste FDJ @ st
92 TANKINK Bram Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ st
93 TIMMER Albert Team Argos – Shimano @ st
94 VANSUMMEREN Johan Garmin – Sharp @ st
95 ARMEE Sander Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise @ st
96 EDMONDSON Joshua Sky Procycling 13:15
97 DEVILLERS Gilles Crelan-Euphony @ st
98 VOGONDY Nicolas – Wanty 13:19


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