Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) displayed mixed feelings at the conclusion of a nail-biting edition of Amstel Gold Race after missing out on the win by just millimeters to Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). The pair came together alongside Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) with 15km to go after a series of attacks and groups blew the race to pieces on the climbs that littered the race, and with the line in sight, it was Van Aert who opened the sprint for the win with just under 200 metres remaining.
It looked as though Pidcock had the measure of his cyclo-cross rival, as he did in De Brabantse Pijl last week, but despite almost drawing level with Van Aert before the line the Jumbo rider was given the win after a tense wait and photo finish analysis. Schachmann, who attacked with 2km to go, settled for third on the line.
Van Aert initially thought that the win was his and celebrated at the line but he looked less than certain a few minutes later. Pidcock looked the faster at the line after gaining momentum and certain angles suggested that the Ineos rider had taken the win, but official confirmation of Van Aert’s win was made after an agonizing wait.
“Coming into the sprint I made sure that I was on Wout’s wheel,” Pidcock said at the finish. “He’s the fasted guy out of Wout and Max. I gave him a bit of a gap so that I could rush and we came inside 300 metres and I should have closed the gap and I didn’t have time to come around.
"Wout thought he won and I always thought that I was second, so at least I didn’t think I won. It would have been nice to have been first but I’m still happy with second. I did a good ride.
“You can’t disagree with a photo finish. It’s disappointing but I did a good race and I’m happy with how it went. I’m not annoyed with how it went but to lose by so little is frustrating. We had a super good team today and they rode a super good race. It’s nice being in a team that’s so committed.”
Pidcock and his Ineos teammates were aggressive throughout the race, with Richard Carapaz, Dylan van Baarle and Michal Kwiatkowski all going on the attack. The British team had three riders in the first 10 riders at one point and Kwiatkowski helped set up the winning break after he was caught with around 15km to go.
Pidcock was disappointed to miss out on the win, and was right to suggest that he was the strongest rider in the race. At one point Van Aert was either unable or willing to share in the workload but the British rider admitted that along with a small mistake in the sprint he had perhaps been too eager at other times too. Still, he has shown his potential since moving onto the road and has gained valuable experience.
“I’ve grown each race,” he said.
“In De Brabantse Pijl I thought that Wout was stronger and today I thought that I was the strongest guy in the race. I had the legs in the sprint and it’s a super nice feeling being one of the strongest guys in the race.
"I got excited following Roglič with a few laps to go. I just need to wait a bit longer. I got drawn in a bit but it was clearly just for Wout. I’ll be careful for that next time.”
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