Tom Pidcock summed it up best moments after the end of Amstel Gold Race, saying a year on from his marginal loss to Wout van Aert, "Well, we can't get flicked two years in a row, can we?"
After being denied the win at the 2021 edition of Amstel Gold Race by the narrowest of margins in a photo finish, it was his and Ineos Grenadiers' time to celebrate as teammate Michał Kwiatkowski come out on top of Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) at the line on Sunday.
The British squad were the only team with more than one man in the main lead group come the concluding kilometres of the race, with Pidcock and Kwiatkowski working an attack and counter on the final ascent of the Cauberg and the run over the start-finish line at 22km to go.
After the race and following the dramatic turn of events past the finish line which initially saw Cosnefroy awarded victory, Pidcock said that it was always the team's plan to go with numbers into the race final.
"This was the plan," he told the assembled reporters. "Dylan [van Baarle] didn't quite have the legs to be in the front group with us. But we wanted numbers and then to play the numbers in the final. And that's what we did.
"Kwiatkowski was up the road and I was protecting behind. I mean, sorry to the guys that I've been a bit of a pain in the ass, but it's my job. I think that was definitely a strength for us and we used it."
The team had worked on the front earlier in the day, dragging back the early break and making the race over many of the race's 33 hills as hard as possible. At the end of it all, Pidcock, who had been ill in the run-up to the race, and Kwiatkowski, who had suffered a slow start to the year with multiple bouts of illness, emerged at the front.
"He's super good to race with because he's super experienced," Pidcock said of his teammate, who won the race back in 2015 and is rarely out of the top 10 in Limburg. "It's great racing with him and being in the same team with him. It's nice to see him win again.
"I was a bit unsure of how I was going after this week, being ill," he added. "But I was actually pretty good today. I was ill all week, not bad, but I didn't do any intensity. I just rode easy. So normally when I'm too fresh, I'm a bit crap."
Another rider who impressed for the team was neo-pro Ben Turner, who has been one of the breakthrough stars of the 2022 Classics season. The 22-year-old has often been working hard at the front of races through the cobbled Classics, including finishing eighth at Dwars door Vlaanderen, where he helped Pidcock to a podium finish.
Turner said that the team – both at the Classics and elsewhere around Europe – has really impressed so far this spring, with recent wins including that of Eddie Dunbar at Settimana Coppi e Bartali, Dani Martínez at Itzulia, and Carlos Rodríguez's stage at the same race.
"I think it was phenomenal as a team, as one team," he said. "What we did, we set it up and honestly, I didn't know until like five minutes ago that we won. These boys are phenomenal and to be a part of this is a neo-pro and to learn from them all is amazing and I just fucking love racing my bike.
"It's not only the Classics squad but you see this week Danny just win, Carlos just won. Phenomenal. We're having a fantastic year. Now the momentum is building and we're showing what we're capable of."
As for Turner himself, he said that he thinks he has proven a lot already just a handful of months into his tenure at Ineos. He joined over the winter from Trinity Racing, the Continental team founded around fellow Yorkshireman Pidcock in 2020, while his 2021 season with the squad was derailed by a horror crash at the Tour de l'Avenir which saw him at risk of losing an eye.
"I don't want to sound cocky, but I did back myself a lot," Turner said. "It's just because the crash last year, that big one I had, and people didn't know who I was. I think I proved a lot this year and I think hopefully it'll take me far in my career.
"Hopefully I can build a bit of a name for myself, for what I'm doing. It's amazing to just be part of this team and to perform at the biggest races in the world."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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