Kwiatkowski wins Amstel Gold Race

World champion beats Valverde and Matthews on the Cauberg

Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) claimed his first road race win as World champion with a perfectly executed sprint at the end of Amstel Gold Race.

The Pole was briefly distanced on the final ascent of the Cauberg by defending champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and sprinter Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) but the Etixx-QuickStep rider fought back with several other riders, including Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) as the leading contenders crested the climb.

Matthews and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) opened their sprints first but it was Kwiatkowski who powered clear to win by a bike length with Valverde second and Matthews third.

The expected showdown on the Caugberg delivered a close affair with BMC determined to retain their defence of the race. Ben Hermans accelerated at almost the exact point at which Samuel Sanchez has 12 months ago and like last year Gilbert delivered the next punch with a power acceleration of his own. However, unlike 12 months ago, the Belgian was unable to shed all of his opposition and it was Matthews, third in Milan-San Remo, who glued himself to the Belgian’s rear wheel.

Kwiatkowski looked determined to make it three riders in front when he moved up the front of the chase group but it was the experienced Valverde who cut the distance in no time to make it a three-man move.

It all looked decisive enough, only that Gilbert’s accelerations hadn’t caused the damage they had last year and a large group, containing Kwiatkowski and many of the other pre-race favourites were able to regain contact in the 1.8 kilometres between the crest of the climb and the finish.

Kwiatkowski was almost dead-last with around 500 metres to go but he ambled his way through a gap behind Tony Gallopin before unleashing a long-distance sprint of supreme quality.

Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) wins Amstel Gold Race 2015

How it unfolded

The third climb of the day had been and gone by the time six men went clear of the bunch with Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy), Johan Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka) and Mike Terpstra (Team Roompot) going clear. The bunch were tentative at first in letting them go but they finally allowed them some space and the gap quickly grew to a substantial 10 minutes by the feed zone.

Behind the leaders, BMC and CCC Sprandi Polkowice controlled the bunch, with the Polish team hoping to keep their two former champions Davide Rebellin and Stefan Schumacher out of trouble. Others weren’t so lucky though and a number of riders, including last year’s second placed rider Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal), came down in a crash. Lieuwe Westra (Astana) was another to greet the tarmac and he soon became the first rider to abandon.

As the escapees crossed the finish line, their advantage was cut to less than six minutes under a concerted effort from the peloton.

Valverde’s Movistar teammates picked up the pace setting with around 80 kilometres to go, pulling out a small gap on the bunch on the first descent of the Bemelerberg and bringing the advantage of the escapees down to under four minutes. A mechanical problem for Valverde meant that the Spanish team soon found themselves at the back as they paced their leader back to the group.

As the race neared the final lap, the leading group held less than a minute over the main group and began shelling riders. Only three remained with 44 kilometres remaining.

The peloton races past a windmill during the 50th edition of the Amstel Gold Race

The first flurry of late attacks came on the Eyserbowsbeg in the form of David Tanner (IAM Cycling) and Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge).

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) helped form a five-man chasing group with Nibali and his Astana teammate Diego Rosa, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Damiano Caruso (BMC) and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin).

The new leading group worked well together to hold a 35-second lead on the peloton after the Fromberg. The chasers were close behind, at only 11 seconds as Rosa set the pace on the front of the second group on the road. There was a disastrous moment for Kelderman, as he missed a corner and went cross-country through a field. The Dutchman managed to stay but he was unable to make contact with the chase group.

Nibali appeared unhappy with the level of commitment from his breakaway companions and despite his group and that of Tanner and Clarke forming one unit, the Italian looked unsettled. When Rosa and Caruso crashed on a corner the remnants of the break carried on but their impetus was well and truly lost as Movistar orchestrated the chase.

With the peloton closing and Nibali cutting a frustrated figure Clarke launched another attack. He had two climbs to go but his effort was key in allowing Matthews a relatively easy ride but when the former KOM winner in the Vuelta was caught Orica moved to the front with their sprinter neatly tucked in.

BMC were also present, and having marked a number of attacks leading into the final ascent of the Cauberg, they put all their chips on Gilbert retaining his title on a finish he had also become world champion on. However it wasn’t to be, with the current holder of the rainbow jersey asserting his position and authority.

The sprint for the line at the end of Amstel Gold Race

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Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step6:31:49 
2Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
4Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida  
5Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
6Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal  
7Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step  
8Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
9Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
10Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
11Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha  
12Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
13Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha  
14Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo  
15Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
16Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky  
17Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team  
18Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:03 
19Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:18 
20Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka  
21Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Team Roompot  
22Michael Valgren (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
23Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
24Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
25Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
26Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
27Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
28Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
29Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
30Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
31Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
32Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha  
33Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Team Sky  
34Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
35Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
36Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:26 
37Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
38Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
39Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin  
40Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
41Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
42Arthur Vichot (Fra)  
43Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:52 
44Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
45Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale  
46Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka  
47Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
48Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team  
49Diego ** Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
50Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
51Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
52Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
53Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida  
54Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
55Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
56Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
57Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
58Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team  
59Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
60Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo  
61Michel Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot  
62Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
63Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
64Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:59 
65Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:20 
66Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:32 
67Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge  
68Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge  
69Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge  
70Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
71Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky  
72Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin  
73Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:40 
74Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha0:02:14 
75David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling  
76Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:02:21 
77Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step0:04:27 
78Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:04:53 
79Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling0:04:56 
80Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:05:47 
81Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
82Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:06:42 
83Marinus Cornelis Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
84Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
85Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
86Marc Demaar (Ned) Team Roompot  
87Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
88Huub Duyn (Ned) Team Roompot  
89Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
90Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
91Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team Roompot0:06:47 
92Oliver Naesen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
93Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
94Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha  
95Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
96Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
97Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step  
98Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
99Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha  
100Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing  
101Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida  
102Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
103Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida  
104Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
105Kévin Reza (Fra)  
106Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra)  
107Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
108Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
109Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
110Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
111Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
112Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
113Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
114Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling0:07:56 
115Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha  
116Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:08:59 
117Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Team Roompot  
118Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
119Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
120Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka  
121Yannick Eijssen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
122Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
123Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
124Laurent Pichon (Fra)  
125Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:09:59 
126Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:10:48 
127Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:12:21 
128Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini0:13:47 
129Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFBen Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFChristophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra)  
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra)  
DNFAnthony Roux (Fra)  
DNFJussi Veikkanen (Fin)  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
DNFLieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
DNFStijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFReto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFDennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJosé Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFRory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team  
DNFMathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFChristian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMatej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFThierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFZico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFThomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFBertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFTimo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFNick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFNathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky  
DNFPeter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFPhilip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky  
DNFXabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky  
DNFWouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky  
DNFJesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFEvgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFCalvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFSimone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFAndrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFStefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFStefan Schumacher (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFRussell Downing (GBr) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFLinus Gerdemann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFChristian Mager (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFMichael Reihs (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFTroels Ronning Vinther (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFSongezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFDaniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFGiacomo Berlato (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFIuri Filosi (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFAlessandro Malaguti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFRiccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFGenki Yamamoto (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFMike Terpstra (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMarco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFJan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNSDries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNSThomas Degand (Bel) IAM Cycling  

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