Belkin’s Ardennes campaign didn’t get off to the flying start that they had hoped for at Amstel Gold, with Bauke Mollema the team’s top finisher in seventh place. He stayed with the front group until the final climb, but he didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the group that was chasing down the eventual race winner Philippe Gilbert.
“I was in the wheel of Gilbert on the last time up the Cauberg, but I couldn’t follow him. On top, I was really close to the second group, who were expecting second place. It was a pity that I wasn’t there,” Mollema told Cyclingnews on the finish line.
The result is Mollema’s best performance at Amstel Gold, after finishing 10th in last year’s race. Mollema will head to Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday as joint leader for the Dutch team, alongside Lars Petter Nordhaug and Paul Martens, who finished 22nd and 26th respectively at Amstel Gold.
Mollema’s Belkin teammate Laurens Ten Dam was at his side in the closing kilometres of Amstel but found himself out of place when the crucial moves began. “I was too far back and I couldn’t react when guys attacked,” he told Cyclingnews. “I’m happy with my form coming after not that much racing so far and still getting into the final is ok. I was just lacking a little bit of sharpness or a little bit of eagerness in the final.”