Kwiatkowski awarded Amstel Gold Race victory in photo-finish sprint against Cosnefroy

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.

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers 6:01:19
2Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
3Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:10
4Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:20
5Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
6Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
7Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
9Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
10Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
11Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
12Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:29
13Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:42
14Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:43
15Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost
16Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
17Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:50
18Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
19Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar Team
20Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
21Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
22Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
23Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:02:29
24Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
25Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
26Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
27Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
28Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
29Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
30Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
31Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
32Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:04:25
33Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:04:31
34Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
35Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
36Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
37Aaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:06:26
38Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
39Jan Maas (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
40Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
41Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM 0:06:29
42Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
43Jannik Steimle (Ger) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:07:25
44Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
45Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
46Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar Team
47Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
48Jonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
49Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Cofidis
50Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
51Sandy Dujardin (Fra) TotalEnergies
52Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
53Stan Van Tricht (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
54Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) Astana Qazaqstan Team
55Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
56Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
57Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
58Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
59Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
60Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
61Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team
62Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroen Team
63Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
64Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
65Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
66Abner González Rivera (PuR) Movistar Team
67Mikaël Cherel (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
68Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel-Premier Tech
69Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel-Premier Tech
70Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
71Winner Anacona (Col) Arkea-Samsic
72Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
73Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
74Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
75Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic
76Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
77Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
78Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
79Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
80Alexandre Delettre (Fra) Cofidis
81Sander Armée (Bel) Cofidis
82Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies
83Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
84Connor Swift (GBr) Arkea-Samsic
85Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
86Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
87Owain Doull (GBr) EF Education-EasyPost
88Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
89Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
90Niki Terpstra (Ned) TotalEnergies
91Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:10:56
92Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:11:10
93Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
94Davide Ballerini (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
95Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
96Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
97Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies
98Cesare Benedetti (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
99Johan Meens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
100Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
101Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma
102Clément Russo (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
103Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
104Quentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
105Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
106Vito Braet (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
107Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
108Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
109Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:13:11
110Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel-Premier Tech
111Nico Denz (Ger) Team DSM
112Marco Brenner (Ger) Team DSM
113Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
114Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
115Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
116Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
117Vinicius Rangel Costa (Bra) Movistar Team
DNFJos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
DNFAndrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFLaurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFMagnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFIde Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFPatrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFMartin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFVictor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFMatthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
DNFSébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFDaan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAlberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFJulius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFFilip Maciejuk (Pol) Bahrain Victorious
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
DNFFred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
DNFSzymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis
DNFJohn Degenkolb (Ger) Team DSM
DNFMark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM
DNFCasper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM
DNFLeonardo Basso (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFSamuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFFinn Fisher-Black (NZl) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAlexys Brunel (Fra) UAE Team Emirates
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFJuan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
DNFJuan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFAlexandre Balmer (Swi) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFDion Smith (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFMads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
DNFTobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFMichael Gogl (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFDries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFAnthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
DNFJulian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFDimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFMilan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
DNFVictor Koretzky (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFAlan Boileau (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFCyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFJohnatan Cañaveral Vargas (Col) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFDavide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFLuca Rastelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFAlessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFFilippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNSMarijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost

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