Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) won Amstel Gold in yet another agonisingly close photo finish ahead of Benoit Cosnefroy (Ag2r Citroen).
The victory had initially been awarded to Cosnefroy, but a photo finish revealed that the Pole had in fact edged it by the barest of margins with a late lunge.
The two riders did battle in a two-up sprint after breaking clear from a select group of favourites shortly after the Cauberg.
Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) broke clear from that group in the final kilometres to take third.
It was a finish uncannily similar to last year, when Ineos Grenadiers' Tom Pidcock lost out to Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in a photo finish that caused controversy, but this time an Ineos Grenadiers was deemed to have won by a few centimetres rather than lost.
“It was very tough,” said Kwiatkowski at the finish, after he’d been confirmed as the winner. “A tough finish, a tough sprint. I was super-confident that I could win, but at the same time, the last 50 metres were super-tough, when Cosnefroy still accelerated when I got to the side of him. For me it was all about the win, because I knew that having Tom [Pidcock] in the front group, with both of us, it was all about winning the race.”
He had initially looked crestfallen while Cosnefroy celebrated for joy thinking he's won, only for their emotions to be reversed just minutes later.
“It was very confusing. I was super-sad in the first place, because, as I said, it was all about the win.
“I learned a little bit from last year, with Tom, that you have to wait, and I still believed that maybe it will come up again saying the photo finish is wrong. But they say third time lucky, you know?
“It’s just incredible, I love this race, and after all the bad moments this season that I’ve had with Covid and previously with the flu and being sick and not being able to follow my race program. And now I’m here as winner of Amstel Gold Race, it’s just an incredible feeling.”
This is Kwiatkowski’s second Amstel Gold career victory having previously won it in 2015, and also his first win since his stage at the 2020 Tour de France, bringing to an end a frustrating run for the Pole.
“I think I proved to myself that I have to be patient and that sooner or later the victory will come … It was very tough for me, the beginning of the season, when your family is getting sick and you or not even able to train, and all the races are for me postponed and the racing calendar is upside down, it was very difficult to get back on track. But here I am."
Ineos Grenadiers were awarded for an aggressive performance.
It was their strong pace on the Keutenberg, 34km from the finish, that forced the key selection of the race, where Kwiatkowski and Pidcock went away with Cosnefroy, Benoot, Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious), Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) and Alexander Kamp (Trek-Segafredo).
Kwiatkowski then went solo shortly after this group crested the Cauberg, and was joined by Cosnefroy a few kilometres later when the Frenchman bridged across.
The pair managed to withstand the case behind, and were able to battle it out for first and second on the finishing straight.
How it unfolded
A six-man break was allowed up the road with little fuss ahead of a long, hard day’s racing in the hilly Limburg region of the Netherlands.
Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Johan Jacobs (Movistar), Emils Liepins (Trek-Segafredo), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost) and Luca Rastelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) were the riders in the mood to put their nose to the wind, and opened up a gap of several minutes.
That came down when, in a flurry of activity in the peloton, the dangerous duo of Victor Campaerts (Lotto-Soudal) and Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma) jumped clear 96km. They made the bridge some 8km later, forming a new lead group of seven riders after Rastelli dropped back, while Florian Senechal (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) tried in vain for a while to join them in no-man’s land.
However, Campanaerts didn’t keep up with the pace in the breakaway once they reached the climb of Loorberg 58km from the finish, and was dropped from the group with Schelling back into the peloton, seemingly unbothered despite the big effort to get into the break in the first place.
Campanaerts’ teammate Tim Wellens tried to jump clear shortly after, only to be marked closely by Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), meaning the peloton remained together.
The notoriously tight, narrow roads of this race inevitably led to several crashes throughout the day, with Andrea Bagioli (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) and Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) among the victims, and Van Hooydonk briefly fell out of the break when he almost crashed into a parked car 48km from the finish.
Van Hooydonck did however manage to recover to rejoin the break, and then went clear alone on the Eyserbosweg where the group fractured, and the Ineos Grenadiers-led peloton began to reel them in on-by-one. But the Dutchman was himself caught shortly after the summit, meaning the race was all back together with 44.5km still to ride.
Ineos Grenadiers continued to set a searing pace, and forced a significant selection on the Keutenberg 34km from the finish when twelve riders went clear from the peloton.
Those left behind failed to mount an organised chase, with Tim Wellens and Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious) trying separately to bridge the gap solo.
A stand off on the Cauberg among the leaders was broken by attacks first by Hirschi and then Pidcock over the top, but it wasn’t until after the summit that a rider went clear, when Kwiatkowski managed to get a gap.
Once the Pole’s lead had grown to over ten seconds, Cosnefroy produced an explosive acceleration to drop the others, and caught the Pole with 19km still to ride.
Pidcock and then Teuns tried in vain to bridge up to them, and by the foot of the final climb of the day, the Bemelerberg, Kwiatkowski and Cosnefroy’s lead over the chasers was up to 30 seconds.
Strong turns from Hirschi and Asgreen on the climb helped bring the gap down to 20 seconds, but there wasn’t a fully committed chase on the run-in to the line, allowing Kwiatkowski and Cosnefroy to sprint for victory.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers||6:01:19|
|2||Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team|
|3||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||0:00:10|
|4||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:00:20|
|5||Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo|
|6||Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|7||Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|8||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ|
|9||Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates|
|10||Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious|
|11||Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers|
|12||Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious||0:00:29|
|13||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious||0:01:42|
|14||Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:01:43|
|15||Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost|
|16||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech|
|17||Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:01:50|
|18||Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|19||Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar Team|
|20||Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|21||Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic|
|22||Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers|
|23||Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:02:29|
|24||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team|
|25||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|26||Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team|
|27||Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|28||Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo|
|29||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM|
|30||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|31||Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious|
|32||Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||0:04:25|
|33||Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:04:31|
|34||Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team|
|35||Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix|
|36||Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|37||Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise||0:06:26|
|38||Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma|
|39||Jan Maas (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|40||Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team|
|41||Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM||0:06:29|
|42||Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ|
|43||Jannik Steimle (Ger) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||0:07:25|
|44||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|45||Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|46||Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar Team|
|47||Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|48||Jonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|49||Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Cofidis|
|50||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM|
|51||Sandy Dujardin (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|52||Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|53||Stan Van Tricht (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|54||Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) Astana Qazaqstan Team|
|55||Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|56||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|57||Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team|
|58||Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies|
|59||Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team|
|60||Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|61||Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team|
|62||Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroen Team|
|63||Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|64||Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|65||Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|66||Abner González Rivera (PuR) Movistar Team|
|67||Mikaël Cherel (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team|
|68||Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel-Premier Tech|
|69||Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel-Premier Tech|
|70||Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|71||Winner Anacona (Col) Arkea-Samsic|
|72||Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ|
|73||Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix|
|74||Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|75||Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic|
|76||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|77||Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|78||Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|79||Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal|
|80||Alexandre Delettre (Fra) Cofidis|
|81||Sander Armée (Bel) Cofidis|
|82||Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|83||Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers|
|84||Connor Swift (GBr) Arkea-Samsic|
|85||Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|86||Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|87||Owain Doull (GBr) EF Education-EasyPost|
|88||Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost|
|89||Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Arkea-Samsic|
|90||Niki Terpstra (Ned) TotalEnergies|
|91||Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:10:56|
|92||Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo||0:11:10|
|93||Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|94||Davide Ballerini (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|95||Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|96||Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|97||Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|98||Cesare Benedetti (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|99||Johan Meens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|100||Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team|
|101||Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma|
|102||Clément Russo (Fra) Arkea-Samsic|
|103||Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ|
|104||Quentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|105||Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|106||Vito Braet (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|107||Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|108||Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis|
|109||Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise||0:13:11|
|110||Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel-Premier Tech|
|111||Nico Denz (Ger) Team DSM|
|112||Marco Brenner (Ger) Team DSM|
|113||Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|114||Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis|
|115||Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers|
|116||Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic|
|117||Vinicius Rangel Costa (Bra) Movistar Team|
|DNF||Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|DNF||Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|DNF||Laurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers|
|DNF||Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers|
|DNF||Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Daan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo|
|DNF||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost|
|DNF||Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost|
|DNF||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-EasyPost|
|DNF||Filip Maciejuk (Pol) Bahrain Victorious|
|DNF||Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Bahrain Victorious|
|DNF||Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious|
|DNF||Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis|
|DNF||Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis|
|DNF||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team DSM|
|DNF||Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM|
|DNF||Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM|
|DNF||Leonardo Basso (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team|
|DNF||Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team|
|DNF||Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team|
|DNF||Valerio Conti (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team|
|DNF||Finn Fisher-Black (NZl) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Alexys Brunel (Fra) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates|
|DNF||Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|DNF||Alexandre Balmer (Swi) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|DNF||Dion Smith (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|DNF||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel-Premier Tech|
|DNF||Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Michael Gogl (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|DNF||Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|DNF||Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|DNF||Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|DNF||Victor Koretzky (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|DNF||Alan Boileau (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|DNF||Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|DNF||Jonathan Hivert (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|DNF||Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Johnatan Cañaveral Vargas (Col) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Luca Rastelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNF||Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'|
|DNS||Marijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost|
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