Kreuziger amazes in Amstel Gold Race

Roman Kreuziger of Saxo-Tinkoff won the Amstel Gold Race in a solo effort, joyously crossing the finish line after seven kilometers in the lead. World champion Philippe Gilbert's late attack on the Cauberg chase was fruitless, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) out-sprinted him from a small chase group for second. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) finished third.

Kreuziger attacked from the chasing peloton with 17 kilometers to go, and was part of a group which caught solo leader Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi). He left that small group at exactly the right moment and was able to hold onto his lead even after a powerful charge by the big-name contenders on the Cauberg.

Kreuziger finished 22 seconds ahead of the chasing group.

"It was special race. When I went we didn't know what would happen, if we'd stay away,” Kreuziger said.

“In the last kilometre they told me I had 15 seconds at the start of the Cauberg and that was when I started to think I could win. The Cauberg was never ending…”

How it happened

The skies may have been bleak in the bustling Markt Square in Maastricht for the start, but the peloton was wearing decidedly less layers of clothing than what they did throughout the Flemish Classics earlier this month and seemed much happier.

Soon after the 187-strong peloton departed for the 251km race to Valkenburg, Johan Vansummeren (Garmin Sharp) was the first man to attack, and was joined by Tim De Troyer (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Alexandre Pliuschin (IAM), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel), Arthur Van Overberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen). With 50km of racing done, the group’s gap was out to nearly six minutes and the break of the day had formed.

In hot pursuit, was Nicolas Vogondy (Accent Jobs) and Klaas Sys (Crelan-Euphony) and by the time the front five hit the Cauberg for the first time, the gap between the two groups was down to a minute, while there was a total advantage of 10 minutes to the peloton, which was being marshaled by the Cannondale team for hot favourite Peter Sagan.

Content to let the breakaway revel up ahead, the gap had blown out to 11 minutes by the halfway mark.

Shortly before the peloton hit the Cauberg for the second time, a large crash brought down a number of riders including world champion and two-time winner, Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Rui Costa (Movistar) and Andy Schleck (RadioShack Nissan).

The Frenchman was taken to hospital while Schleck later abandoned -the fifth race where he has done so for this season. With the rest of the peloton taking to an open field adjacent to the blocked road, the Amstel Gold suddenly resembled a cyclo-cross race and numerous splits appeared on the roads for the first time. Blanco, despite having a man down, relished the conditions and took to the front to drive the pace, with Cannondale backing off.

On the second time up the Cauberg, the gap was starting to come down, with the lead group’s advantage down to 8:15. More teams started to show themselves at the front of the chase with Movistar, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and Katusha making their intentions clear. It contributed to the breakaway’s lead continuing to tumble, and with 65km remaining the gap was down to 4:45.

On the Loorberg with just under 60km to go, Astarloza and Vansummeren rode away from their fellow escapees. Pliuschin caught back on but the new lead trio would be forced to work hard with the gap hovering at just over three minutes. It was the first sign that not all was well in the break, and then again on the Gulperberg when Astarloza rode away from Vansummeren and Pliuschin, the latter pair unable to match his acceleration, with the Spaniard going it alone.

Just as the race came alive in the peloton, Katusha’s main hope, Joaquim Rodriguez, crashed heavily near Gulpen, along with Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge). Vacansoleil’s Rob Ruijgh would also get back up, his back would be covered in thick mud. They all got back on their bikes but Rodriguez's race was over and he seemed worried about a knee problem.

The key attack

As the peloton hit the Kruisberg with 42km to go, Blanco and BMC hit the front with the remnants of the breakaway – Vogondy, Sys, De Troyer and Overberghe less than a minute up ahead. Up the Eyserbosweg, Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEdge) launched an attack. He has some good form having collected a pile of top-10 showings at Vuelta al Pais Vasco and looked strong. However other riders came across from the peloton, including Blanco pair David Tanner and Lars Petter Nordhaug, Astana’s Andriy Grivko and later Kreuziger.

While the peloton mistakenly waited for the last Cannondale rider to chase, the attackers pressed on, smelling a chance of victory. Kreuziger looked the strongest and decided not to risk his chips and go all in on a solo attack.

Using his good time trial skills he surged clear and never looked back, carving out enough of a lead for the final climb of the Cauberg.

Behind him the peloton picked up the chasers, including Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), who had made a huge effort to get across the gap. However Kreuziger was already over the top of the Cauberg and out of reach of Gilbert and the other chasers.

After two difficult years at Astana, Kreuziger is back to his best under Bjarne Riis' influence and gave the Danish team a much needed Classics win.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff6:35:21
2Alejandro Valverdo Belmonte0:00:22
3Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 2 - Cell 2
4Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 3 - Cell 2
5Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 5 - Cell 2
7Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 7 - Cell 2
9Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) KatushaRow 10 - Cell 2
12Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-SharpRow 11 - Cell 2
13Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 12 - Cell 2
14Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 13 - Cell 2
15Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:23
17Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:00:25
18Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:36
19Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha0:00:37
20Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) KatushaRow 20 - Cell 2
22Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJRow 21 - Cell 2
23Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 22 - Cell 2
24Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 23 - Cell 2
25Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 24 - Cell 2
26Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp0:00:38
27Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura0:00:46
28Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:47
29Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack LeopardRow 28 - Cell 2
30Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 30 - Cell 2
32Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:48
33Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 32 - Cell 2
34Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:00:57
35Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:00:58
37Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:07
38Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 37 - Cell 2
39Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard0:01:11
40Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 39 - Cell 2
41Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:12
42Andrey Armador BikkazakovaRow 41 - Cell 2
43Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 42 - Cell 2
44Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:01:13
45Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:01:31
46Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack LeopardRow 46 - Cell 2
48Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:32
49Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 48 - Cell 2
50Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling0:01:44
51Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge0:01:48
52David Tanner (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 52 - Cell 2
54Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:13
55Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge0:02:16
56Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:05:01
57Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 56 - Cell 2
58Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise0:05:27
59Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 59 - Cell 2
61Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:05:28
63Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack LeopardRow 62 - Cell 2
64Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 63 - Cell 2
65Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack LeopardRow 64 - Cell 2
66Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:05:29
68Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ0:06:29
69Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 68 - Cell 2
70Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 69 - Cell 2
71Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) IAM Cycling0:06:30
72Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:06:31
74Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp0:06:34
75Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp0:09:12
76Francois Parisien (Can) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 75 - Cell 2
77Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:09:13
78Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM CyclingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM CyclingRow 78 - Cell 2
80Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 79 - Cell 2
81Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetApp-EnduraRow 80 - Cell 2
82Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-EuphonyRow 81 - Cell 2
83Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-EuphonyRow 82 - Cell 2
84Maciej Paterski (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:09:14
85Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 85 - Cell 2
87Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 86 - Cell 2
88Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 88 - Cell 2
90Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 89 - Cell 2
91William Bonnet (Fra) FDJRow 90 - Cell 2
92Bram Tankink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:09:15
93Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 92 - Cell 2
94Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-SharpRow 93 - Cell 2
95Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 94 - Cell 2
96Joshua Edmondson (GBr) Sky Procycling0:13:15
97Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony0:13:16
98Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:13:19

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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.


Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.


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