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Gilbert wins 2014 Amstel Gold Race

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) won the Amstel Gold Race for a third time in his career on Sunday after making a signature winning move during the last ascent of the Cauberg. The former world champion and Ardennes Classics triple crown winner crossed the finish line with a victory salute ahead of chasers Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) in second and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in third.

"This was a particularly emotional win for me," Gilbert said. "My wife and my kids were here for the first time in two years. So to have won will be something they will never forget. I have been dreaming of this."

The Belgian made his timely attack near the base of the Cauberg during the fourth and last of the smaller finishing circuits. A series of riders, including Vanendert and Gerrans, jumped out of the dwindled main field in response to the attack but were unable to close the gap before the finish line in Valkenburg.

Gilbert’s move came after the field caught breakaway riders Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). His teammate Samuel Sanchez set him up perfectly with an attack at the base of the Cauberg that forced Orica-GreenEdge to chase. The move drew out Gerrans and Valverde, but Gilbert launched on the left side of the road with devastating force and soloed the final 3km to victory.

"My teammates really did a great job before the final ascension of the Cauberg," Gilbert said. "They all did a very good job to place me in the best position. During the briefing, it was planned for Samuel to do an attack at the foot of the Cauberg. It was not a surprise for me, but I think it was one for my adversaries. I only had to wait for the best moment to attack. And I did that when it was most difficult and hurting for everyone."

How it unfolded

The 250km classic started in Maastricht and ended with four smaller circuits on the Cauberg, with the finish line about 1.8km past the top of the climb. The race is notorious for its twisty and narrow roads, short and steep climbs, and a strong collection of fans. There were some 34 climbs on a parcours and not many flat sections, making this race a of attrition. It is the first of three Ardennes Classics, followed by La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Under pleasantly dry and sunny conditions, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) took the start line as the defending champion alongside a series of other previous winners including former Ardennes Classics triple crown champions Gilbert and Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat).

Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) kicked of the day’s breakaway right off the start line and was joined by seven other riders to establish a four-minute lead during the first kilometres of the race. The eight-man move also included Van Hecke, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Matej Mohoric (Cannondale), Manuel Belletti (Androni Venezuela), Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), James Van Landschoot (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Nicola Boem (Bardiani CSF).

Riblon and Rory Sutherland (Tinkoff-Saxo) bridged across to the move and they gained nearly 14 minutes ahead of a seemingly content main peloton over the day’s fourth climb, the Bergeseweg.

With a tough 200km still ahead, the breakaway worked in unison to reach the first ascent over the Cauberg, where they picked up another minute in their quest to stay ahead of the field.

BMC led much of the initial chase from the peloton, keeping the breakaway in check for Gilbert, who proved to be in top form after winning De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne last Wednesday. “[Winning De Brabantse Pijl] was important because I am a winner and I’m always racing to win,” Gilbert said. “It was important for me to gain the trust of my team. It is also a very beautiful race and it was important on the calendar so I wanted to win it, but yes, it was also important for today.”

Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Katusha eventually sent some of their riders to aide in BMC’s efforts to bring the gap down to a more manageable distance as the race approached the half-way point. Movistar also joined in the chase and the gap came down to eight minutes over the Vrakelberg and toward the Eyserbosweg.

For the second consecutive year, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was sidelined after an unfortunate accident with 150 km to go. The crash also involved Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), who later abandoned the race as well.

The gap continued to fall when Omega Pharma-QuickStep joined the chase over the Cauberg for the second time with roughly 80km to go. Some of the breakaway riders struggled to stay on pace after such a long effort.

With 35km to go, Boem, Van Hecke and Riblon continued on ahead in hopes of holding a small gap into the final circuits. Boem, who previously tried to make a move on his own, ended up losing contact with his two companions.

A few kilometres back, over the top of the Kruisberg, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) made an attack to try and bridge across to the pair of leaders. He was joined by Fuglsang, Van Avermaet, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol), but the main field followed just 20 seconds back.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) attacked from the bunch in a bid to bridge to Voeckler’s group. Paul Martens (Belkin) and Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) also made it across.

Van Hecke and Riblon muscled over the Cauberg for the second to last time with just under two minutes ahead of Voeckler’s group and another 20 seconds ahead of the main field. But a series of attacks were beginning to start from the main bunch including a strong but short-lived move from Garmin-Sharp’s Nathan Haas.

Up the road, Weening tried to take a flyer out of Voeckler’s chase group but Fuglsang countered and eventually Van Avermaet, Leukemans, Kolobnev and Martens caught back up to the pair on the descent.

The leading duo, Van Hecke and Riblon, tried desperately to hang on to a small lead with less than 15km to go but the gap had dropped to just 30 seconds. Van Avermaet and Fuglsang were the last to remain from the chase group while the rest were reabsorbed back into the peloton.

Van Hecke, Riblon, Fuglsang and Van Avermaet united as the race headed over the Bemelerberg, however, Garmin-Sharp and Omega Pharma-QuickStep led the main field just 10 seconds behind. Ultimately, the field came back together with seven kilometres to the finish line.

Orica-GreenEdge buried themselves at the front of the field to put their favourites Gerrans and Michael Matthews in top position heading into the final climb over the Cauberg.

Gilbert launched an attack at the base of the ascent with three kilometres to go and opened an instant gap. Gerrans, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) tried to respond but it was too late, and with only a few hundred metres to go, Gilbert was on his way to winning his third Amstel Gold Race.

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Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team6:25:57
2Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:05
3Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica Greenedge0:00:06
4Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
5Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
6Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:10
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
8Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
10Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar0:00:12
11Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
12Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge
13Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice
14Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin Sharp
15Anthony Roux (Fra)
16Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha
17Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
18Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
19Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:21
20Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
21Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp
22Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
23Arnold Jeannesson (Fra)
24Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing0:00:23
25Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:36
26Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
27Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
28Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha
29Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
30Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
31Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale
32Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
33Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
34Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
35Alex Howes (USA) Garmin Sharp
36Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling
37Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
38Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
39Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
40Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
41Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:01
42Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
43Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
44Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing Team
45Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
46Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
47Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol
48Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
49Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale
50Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida
51Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
52Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
53Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:01:32
54Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
55Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra)
56Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica Greenedge
57Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida
58Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
59Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
60Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:03
61Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team
62Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team0:02:16
63Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha0:02:54
64Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Team Katusha
65Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
66Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
67Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica Greenedge0:03:07
68Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:03:23
69Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:03:32
70Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp0:05:36
71Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin Sharp
72Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:06:26
73Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
74Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
75Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) IAM Cycling
76Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge
77Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:08:45
78Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team0:10:00
79Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky
80Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing
81Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
82Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol
83Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol
84Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
85Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
86Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar
87Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli
88Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
89Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
90Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
91Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
92Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar
93Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Cannondale
94Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
95Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
96Jussi Veikkanen (Fin)
97Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
98Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol
99Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
100Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
101Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
102Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
103Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
104Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo
105Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano
106Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
107Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
108Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
109Pirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling
110Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:13:15
111Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
112Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale
113Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
114Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
115Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
116Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano
117Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
118WoutPoels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
119Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
120Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
121Arthur Vanoverberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
122Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr0:16:13
123Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFJesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFBruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFNicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale
DNFMichel Koch (Ger) Cannondale
DNFDaniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale
DNFArnaud Courteille (Fra)
DNFMurilo Antonio Fischer (Bra)
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra)
DNFThomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin Sharp
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp
DNFDaniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNFNelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida
DNFJurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFImanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJohn Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team
DNFJesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJosé Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFBenat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFZdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFJulian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFMichael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
DNFMathew Hayman (Aus) Orica Greenedge
DNFChristian Meier (Can) Orica Greenedge
DNFPerrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
DNFThierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
DNFJoaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha
DNFSergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha
DNFIan Boswell (USA) Team Sky
DNFJoshua Edmondson (GBr) Team Sky
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
DNFDanny Pate (USA) Team Sky
DNFBen Swift (GBr) Team Sky
DNFGeraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
DNFAndy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
DNFKristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
DNFHaimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
DNFManuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFNicola Testi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFOmar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFAndrea Zordan (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
DNFBartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
DNFLukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
DNFMarek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
DNFAdrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
DNFAdrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
DNFSylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
DNFEdward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFEliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise
DNFWesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMichel Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMarco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFNico Sijmens (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFJames Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFSonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
DNFEdoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF


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