Gasparotto wins Amstel stunner

Italian gets first Classics victory

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.

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.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana6:32:35 
2Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:02 
4Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team  
5Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
6Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
7Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
8Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:04 
9Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
10Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
11Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Pro Team Astana  
12Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan  
13Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
14Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:00:09 
15Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda  
16Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:00:12 
17Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team  
18Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda  
19Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team  
20Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:00:19 
21Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling  
22Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:22 
23Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank  
24Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team  
25Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:30 
26Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:00:36 
27Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team  
28Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
29Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana  
30Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:47 
31Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:00:51 
32Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:05 
33Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team  
34Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
35Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
36Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
37Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
38Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:17 
39Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
40Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling  
41Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:01:30 
42Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
43Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:02:03 
44Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos - Shimano  
45Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
46Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos - Shimano  
47Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
48Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team  
49Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar  
50Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
51Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
52Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
53Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
54Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
55Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
56Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
57Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
58Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
59Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
60Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda  
61Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
62Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling  
63Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:21 
64Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
65Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
66Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
67Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana  
68Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team Astana  
69Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
70Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan  
71Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
72Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
73Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale  
74Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan  
75Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda  
76David Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
77Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
78Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana  
79Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:02:40 
80Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:51 
81Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:03:01 
82Christopher Horner (USA) Radioshack-Nissan0:03:19 
83Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:43 
84Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:04:32 
85Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
86Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank0:04:46 
87Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
88Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
89Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
90Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda  
91Andy Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan0:05:39 
92Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
93Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
94Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar  
95Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
96Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
97Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos - Shimano  
98Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale  
99Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
100Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
101Troels Ronning Vinther (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
102Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale0:07:00 
103Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
104Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
105Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
106Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling  
107Yann Huguet (Fra) Argos - Shimano  
108Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling  
109Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team  
110Simone Ponzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:07:33 
111Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar  
112Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:08:02 
113Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
114Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
115Reinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
116Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team  
117Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos - Shimano  
118Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan0:11:26 
119Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
120Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
121Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
122Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
123Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
124Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:11:31 
125Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
126Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar  
127Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
128Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
129Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
130Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
131Daryl Impey (RSA) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
132Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
133Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
134Steven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
135Simon Clarke (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
136Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
137Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
138Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
139Borut Bozic (Slo) Pro Team Astana  
140Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos - Shimano  
141Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
142Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
143Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda  
144Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team  
145Marco Bandiera (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
DNFManuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFCadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMartin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMartin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFRicardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFRuben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFJorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
DNFChristian Meier (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
DNFAlberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team  
DNFAngel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team  
DNFYuriy Krivtsov (Fra) Lampre - ISD  
DNFDiego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
DNFStefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNFJurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
DNFMichal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
DNFMatti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFMaarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan  
DNFJoost Posthuma (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan  
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
DNFLars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling  
DNFSalvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
DNFWouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFGregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFStefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFArnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's  
DNFFrancesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
DNFOscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
DNFKevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
DNFRoberto De Patre (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia  
DNFKurt Hovelynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
DNFEgidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Argos - Shimano  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Argos - Shimano  
DNFFranck Bouyer (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFChristophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  

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