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Amstel Gold Race 2012


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from Amstel Gold Race.

257km of roads, 31 climbs, and only one certainty, Tom Boonen will not win today! The cobbles are done with, and we're onto the Ardennes.

The riders set off a few minutes ago from Maastricht

The Amstel Gold Race is the first of three hillier one-day races during the so-called Ardennes week, although technically it does not happen in the Ardennes but in the Limburg region. Flèche Wallonne will follow on Wednesday while Liège-Bastogne-Liège will conclude the Spring Classics season next Sunday.

Since the finish line was moved from the flat Maas river banks in Maastricht to the top of the Cauberg in 2003, the race has often been decided in an uphill group sprint. At 10km from the foot of the Cauberg, a series of four climbs in 10km separates the wheat from the chaff. The ascents of the Kruisberg, Eyserbosweg, Fromberg and especially the penultimate climb of the day, the Keutenberg, are unforgiving; the latter has a portion with a 22 percent gradient.

Two time defending champion Philippe Gilbert is starting today. The BMC leader hasn't has the best of form this season, frankly he's been downright poor, with illness and injury certainly being factors.

With Boonen at home - and lets be honest  - and the race not really suiting him, a number of favourites come from Spain. In fact it's not impossible to envisage a Spanish 1.2.3. With Samuel Sanchez, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez all in form.

Other than Gilbert we have two other former winners in the peloton today. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Frank Schleck. 2008 and 2006 winners respectfully, both start today. Neither is in great form but they're both well-suited to the race.

247km remaining from 260km

And speaking of former winners, Bjarne Riis is in the Saxo car today. He skipped Roubaix last week but he's back to lead his Danish team. They could do with a few WorldTour points. Tosatto picked up a few last weekend in Roubaix so despite not having a clear favourite for these races, they're still strong enough to pick up a few point scoring places.

Here's a link to today's race start list.

One rider we've not listed or talked about yet this morning is Peter Sagan. The Liquigas rider is an obvious favourite for the uphill finish in today's race. He just needs to make sure he gets his tactics spot on. In Flanders, and a few other spring races, he was caught out simply by going with the wrong move, or chasing when he should have been sitting in. There's no doubt that he's one of the best riders for today's uphill finish though. If he can arrive at the foot of the Cauberg in a small group, or with a small gap, he'll surely be on the top step of the podium.

Other riders to watch today include Australia's Cadel Evans. The former Fleche Wallone winner will again be concentrating on the Tour de France this year but he's a rider to be wary of. He's not been quite as good as he was in the first part of 2010 but he's scored BMC only wins this season.. Greg Van Avermaet has also made the trip for BMC. He can also do well today, and has form - he finished 4th in Flanders.

Enrico Gasparotto (

Sorry, Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) is racing too. He was 3rd back in 2010.

Garmin have an interesting line up. Dekker, the Kreders (one of whom broke his collar bone here in 2010), Martin, Hesjdal, and Wegmann are all here. They could certainly factor in the race with a number of tactics.

GreenEdge have the in-form Albasini and Milan-San Remo winner Simon Gerrans to lead their team.

Katusha, always active in hilly races like this, have Rodriguez, as we discussed earlier. They also have Paolini, Oscar Freire and Daniel Moreno.

Nibali will co-lead with Sagan, although the Italian is perhaps better suited to Liege than Amstel.

Van den Broeck leads a gaggle of Lotto riders here as well, and they'll want to get their spring back on track after a poor showing on the cobbles.

We can interrupt my listing of every rider we might see at the front of the race to tell you that we have  a break.

200km remaining from 260km

There's a counter attack, and it's closing in on the current break. And it's Raymond Kreder in the break, not Michel.

We now have 9 men in the lead with roughly 200km of racing. Bardet, Bilbao, Pineau, Raymond Kreder, Howes, Stortoni, Caethoven, Delfosse and Lietar, with a gap of 5:45

If Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) comes through the first two loops unscathed he should be able to get in the mix for the win in Amstel Gold Race. A crash in the Brabantse Pijl troubled his build-up to the Limburg event. “I crashed pretty hard but it’s not bothering me anymore. I hope all goes well once we’re racing. This is a race that suits. I should be able to win it this year or in one of the upcoming years. After the Tour of Flanders I recovered well. We’ve got a strong team here so I hope I do well. Valverde, Rodriguez and Sanchez are the favorites,” Sagan told Cyclingnews at the chilly start area in Maastricht this morning.

A reminder of the men in the break:

The nine-man break has just crested the Cauberg for the first time.

185km remaining from 260km

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) enters Amstel Gold Race with high hopes after his dominant victory at Brabantse Pijl in midweek. The Frenchman followed that up by racing in Denain the following day, but his focus was firmly on the classics in the Netherlands and Belgium this week.


Voeckler finished an unexpected 8th at the Tour of Flanders, and he is hopeful that the experience of fighting for position on the cobbles will pay dividends on Sunday, even if he is not keen to take the same risks as some of his colleagues.


The lead is continuing to climb, it's at 12 minutes now.

The lead is sneaking up to 13 minutes, and still there's no reaction from the peloton.

The gap between the nine leaders and the peloton is huge. After a comfort stop the difference is up to more than twelve minutes. At the first passage over the Cauberg the nine were working well together. Radioshack-Nissan led the peloton over the top of the Cauberg but at a somewhat easy pace. Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was at the back of the peloton, probably to drop off a rain jacket. Lars Boom (Rabobank) flatted just over the top of the Cauberg. Right now the Katusha team is setting the pace to make sure the gap doesn’t grow too big.

170km remaining from 260km


The break have had a relatively flat section of roads but the climbing is about to begin again, the Wolfsberg is the next one on the menu.

The gap is starting to come down, the work from RadioShack and Katusha paying off. The lead is down to 11:30

One team we've not mentioned so far is Rabobank, it goes without saying that the biggest Dutch race on the calender is a large deal for the home nation and their number one team. That's perhaps slightly unfair on Vacansoleil but Rabobank will be expecting a result from their team. They won the race in 1999, Boogerd beating Armstrong in the sprint. They almost won it the year before but Casino's Rolf Järmann won ahead of Martin den Baker.

Wout Poels has a flat on the Gulperberg. There's a headwind so he'll need some help getting back on.

Järmann was an interesting fellow. He admitted to using EPO in his career, which spanned over a decade. He actually won this race twice in his career, the first time was in 1993. One of Ferreti's men, he rode for Ariostea and MG, before heading to Casino for two season. He closed out his career riding for a Swiss team but by then he was past his best.

He didn't win very much in his career, but when he did win, he tended to win big; Two Amstel's a stage in the Tour, the Tour of Poland, Tirreno the standout wins.

Back in the race, and Lars Boom now has a flat tyre.

What's your top three for today? Let me know at

What's your top three for today? Let me know at

That was Boom's second flat of the race, but he's made it back to the peloton in double time. He's clearly still holding onto his Paris-Roubaix form.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) lists a trio of Spanish riders as his favourites for Amstel Gold victory, but he also outlined how he and Peter Sagan will divide up the leadership in the Netherlands.


With the Worlds in Valkenburg in October, Nibali will be out to impress Italian national coach Paolo Bettini at Amstel, but he admitted that Liège-Bastogne-Liège is his primary target this week.


The lead is down to 11 minutes.

Our man on the motorbike at the back of the peloton says that the pace in the peloton is quite high. The peloton is stretched out in single line. The speed on a flat section is now 47kph. The riders are now at the Camerigberg and Poels has been dropped.

The leaders are over the top of the Camerig.

The leaders have about 10 minutes. The riders reach the eleventh climb of the day - KOM - at the Drielandenpunt, the place where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are bordering each other. The roads are still wet at some points but there hasn't been any rain in the last few hours.

We're coming up to the half-way point in the race, the gap still above 11 minutes, with Katusha and Shack riding tempo on the front of the chasing peloton.

The gap has stretched out to 12 minutes again. Someone or some team, rather, has to take more of a responsibility for the chase soon.

BMC have moved to the front now, and are helping Katusha and RadioShack set the pace.

The leaders reach the Vijlenerbos, which is 1800 meters in length. They're still all together and working well.

With two men in the break Garmin are benefiting the most. Their leaders are able to sit back in the bunch and make the other teams work at reducing the 12 minute gap to the break.

We've still got 18 climbs to come, including the final race up the Cauberg to the finish line.

Decent crowds line the sides of the roads, despite the chilly conditions outside. More and more RadioShack riders have moved to the front, with just one Katusha and one BMC rider at the front of the chasing bunch.

Decent crowds line the sides of the roads, despite the chilly conditions outside. More and more RadioShack riders have moved to the front, with just one Katusha and one BMC rider at the front of the chasing bunch.

Thomas Dekker, drifts to the back of the bunch for the moment. It looks like he's about to shed a layer of clothing.

Presumably from the top half of his body...

If you're after MTB world cup results, our MTB editor has signed in for a guest appearance today and will be uploading news, results and reports.

120km remaining from 260km

Both Garmin riders drift to the back of the break and swap a few words. The 9 men come down off the climb and set into a pace line. Kreder grabs some food from his back pockets.

Amstel is a hard race to organise a chase on... the roads are twisty and narrow, and the constant change in pace means you have to concentrate all the time.

The break can now see the peloton on the other side of the river, with the same Katusha, BMC, Shack presence at the front.

The peloton now hit the bottom of the Gulperberg

Everyone is out of the saddle but the change in pace causes chaos at the back of the bunch with riders running into the back of each other. No major casualties and they all stay upright.

The break have just crested the Van Plettenbergweg

100km remaining from 260km

Dekker seems to be happy with his current level of clothing - can you tell there's not much action? - and he riders back to the peloton. Today's a big day of the Dutchman, riding this race for the first time since his drug ban.

A few more teams have actually started worked, to be fair, Rabobank and Saxo included. We've just seen Breschel make his way to the front of the bunch with a teammate on his wheel.

A few more teams have actually started working, to be fair, Rabobank and Saxo included. We've just seen Breschel make his way to the front of the bunch with a teammate on his wheel.

A few more teams have actually started working, to be fair, Rabobank and Saxo included. We've just seen Breschel make his way to the front of the bunch with a teammate on his wheel.

Chavanel is also near the front of the bunch, with two Omega men with him.

Maarten Tjallingii goes back to the Rabobank team car and hands them his jacket. A few more riders are following suit.

And RadioShack put a man directly on the front of the bunch, the pace immediately rising.

Cadel Evans is at the back of the bunch.

Delfosse is setting the pace for the break, while RadioShack continue to lead the charge from the bunch.

85km remaining from 260km

Gaps appearing in the bunch now as the pace continues to rise

The race has exploded on the Vrakelberg

The break is losing roughly 20-30 seconds per 5km.

The break are on the Cauberg again.

Favilli needs a new bike.

Evans is in a group, just off the back of the peloton.

Now the break are on the Cauberg. Howes again on the front, with Stortoni riding with him.

Bilbao takes over but these men are showing the strain, clearly tired from their efforts.

BMC setting things up for the peloton as they race onto the Cauberg. Gilbert in 4th position.

The bunch come over the top 4;36 down on the break.

They now race by the team buses, which also marks the feedzone. The field are strung out, showing that the pace is full gas.

Wegmann had a bit of trouble in the feedzone but he seems to be okay.

From how the break is riding, there are some cross winds out there. That could be a factor for the bunch once they reach the same point.

With the tight roads, constant changing of pace, and the crosswinds you really cant afford to be at the back of the bunch right now.

BMC have taken over much of the pace setting, RadioShack have called off their efforts. Hoogerland is back with his team car, picking up bottles.

67km remaining from 260km

Evans is out of the race. Having missed the split before the Cauberg, he headed to the team bus at the end of the lap. The former world champion didn't comment on his early departure when he entered the bus.

The break have lined out, with Stortoni doing a decent amount of work on the front. A few rocking shoulders near the back of the 9-man move, as the gap dips under 4 minutes for the first time.

Sagan is coming back to the bunch. It looks like he had a flat but a teammate is bringing him back.

The break are on the Bemelerberg

Valverde is at the very back of the bunch.

57km remaining from 260km

There's been a crash and Van den Broeck has come down. He's up and fixing his bike. He gets a new wheel in the end.

He didnt ask any of his teammates to wait for him, so he's clearly not a rider for today's finale.

Just as I write that, who Lotto riders and team car sit up and pace him back

Just as I write that, two Lotto riders and team car sit up and pace him back

Just as I write that, two Lotto riders and team car sit up and pace him back

Just as I write that, two Lotto riders and a team car sit up and pace him back

Breschel has abandoned the race.

Van den Broeck still hasn't made it back to the bunch. It's going to be tough for him.

Rojas, Visconti, and Chavanel, all national road title holders, ride close to each other in the bunch, just as Van den Broeck comes back to the peloton, finally.

44km remaining from 260km

The final 40km is packed with climbs, 8 to be exact.

Poels has had a day to forget. He's off the back again, clearly suffering.

Omega have moved up, with Garmin, who are perhaps trying to set something up for Martin.

Astana on the front and in numbers Gasparotto and Iglinskiy are both here.

Cunego is near the front of the bunch too, as he should be. Lots of team leaders trying to move up. Rabobank have been quiet so far, what are they planning?

Andy Schleck grimacing due to the pace of the Astana team, but interestingly Chavanel is still there. A rare contender from the cobbles hoping to carry his form into the Ardennes.

Astana have eased and there's an attack from Saxo Bank.

36km remaining from 260km

Bardet, Howes, Stortoni and Bilbao have caused a split and have dropped their breakaway companions.

Delfosse and Kreder are trying to come across.

BMC back on the front for Gilbert and Van Avermaet. 32km to go, the gap down 1.17

Bardet attacks again and Howes is the only man to go with him.

The gap is down to 42 seconds.

Back in the bunch, there's an attack from Astana.

26km remaining from 260km

Ponzi continues alone, takes a look over his left shoulder and then pushes on the pedals again. Katusha's red army move up and take charge of the peloton.

And now it's GreenEdge, on the front for the first time today. That's for Gerrans and Albasini. Boasson Hagen and Sanchez are both near the front as well. 23km to go.

The leading two are on the fifth from last climb of the race and both men out of the saddle on the 13 per cent gradients.

Ponzi caught and Gerrans and Gilbert near the front. Van Avermaet too. As Marcato attacks. He's chased, then Van Avermaet has a short dig but he's chased too.

Three BMC men on the front, Gilbert and Van Avermaet two of them, with 21 km to go.

And Sanchez has been dropped. Van den Broeck too. The Spaniard isn't giving up though and attacks from the dropped group.

BMC are cutting the field to pieces with their pace.

20km remaining from 260km

Sanchez's men have waited and will bring him back  to the peloton if they can.

Van Avermaet and Gilbert only have one domestique left. And Bardet is dancing away from Howes.

As there's another attack from the bunch, this time from Omega and it looks like Van Avermaet will work for Gilbert, and Howes is back on terms with Bardet.

The BMC group is down to around 30 riders.

Shack move to the front, that's Frank Schleck taking a turn.

18km remaining from 260km

BMC still doing most of the work on the front of the bunch. It's a risky tactic given Gilbert's form. He must be very confident.

The two leaders have 20 seconds.

And Gesink has cracked. Not a great moment for Rabobank.

Valverde has moved further to the front.

15km remaining from 260km

And Sky have attacked.

It's Boasson Hagen.

The Sky rider has about 50 meters.

It's a brave move but at least he's making a move. too many riders are waiting and they wont win the sprint.

11km remaining from 260km

It looks like Hagen has been caught.

Howes set the pace.

BMC still on the front. Hagen now caught.

Cunego is near the front.

Van Avermaet leads, Gilbert in second as Howes cracks again.

Here comes the bunch.

Rojas and Chavanel both suffering.

Martin also suffering.

Bardet on his own with 10km to go. Howes has been caught, surely.

There are maybe 20 riders in the Gilbert group.

And an attack from Astana.

9km remaining from 260km

Sky attack again but this move is chased straight away. Now Voeckler goes and Sagan goes with him.

And they've got a gap. They're not working well though and Katusha bring them back again.

7km remaining from 260km

He's got a gap, maybe 30 meters.

BMC start to chase, Cunego is second wheel.

Smart from from Freire, attacking when a number of rivals were just looking at each other.

It's all or nothing for the three time world champion and he knows it. Lampre have started to chase.

Van Avermaet is doing a great job for his team leader, Gilbert.

There are just 20 riders chasing Freire.

Thomas Dekker and another 3 riders from Garmin and more and more riders are coming back.

4km remaining from 260km

Friere has 12 seconds.

If he can pull out another 10 seconds before the Cauberg, it could get interesting.

Quick Step attack.

It's Terpstra

2km remaining from 260km

Terpstra is making it over to Freire.

1km to go for Freire.

Freire starts climbing.

Here come the bunch. 13 seconds down.

Can he hang on?

Gilbert leads the chase

Terpstra caught.

And Gilbert is attacking. Cunego may have crashed

Gilbert leading 3 riders .

Freire is caught.

Sagan comes around Gilbert who has cracked, Enrico Gasparotto is on his wheel and it's going to be close.

The Astana rider takes it. Sagan was second.

Gilbert wanted to bring back Friere and went from so far out. Sagan came over the left, just as Freire was caught and then Enrico Gasparotto comes through with a perfectly timed move. Jelle Vanendert was indeed second with a fading Sagan in 3rd.

We're still waiting for the top ten but here's what we have so far:

We'll hang on a for a few more minutes, as we'd like to close out live with the complete top ten, but thanks for joining us today and remember to stay tuned for Fleche Wallone later this week.

Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team 6:32:35
2 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
8 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin - Barracuda

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