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Gilbert repeats at Amstel Gold Race

Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) won a captivating Amstel Gold Race with a supreme kick for the line at the top of the Cauberg. The Belgian won ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Simon Gerrans (Team Sky).

Gilbert, who came into the race as the defending champion and number one favourite, rode a textbook race - constantly attentive at the front while his team covered a string of dangerous moves, including an attack from Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) who escaped alone within the final 15 kilometres and came within 500 metres of the win.

“This is the most important week of my season and since Wednesday I've had super sensations. The team was super strong too which helped me mentally to economise my energy. Only during the last three kilometres I had to work a bit to get back to Andy Schleck,” Gilbert said.

“Schleck went at the right moment but I still had Jelle Vanendert and I was confident he could keep him under control. When the gap was up to 16 seconds I got worried. I asked the Rabobank guys to work but they didn't. Anyway, as a top favourite it was my responsibility so I pulled too.”

The race sparked into life in the final 30 kilometres as Katusha set about splitting the field. Joaquin Rodriguez set the pace on the Fromberg, leading a group of favourites including several of his teammates, Gilbert, Schleck and a trio of Rabobank riders of Robert Gesink, Oscar Freire and Luis Leon Sanchez.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) were among the other riders to make the cut as Euskaltel-Euskadi and Garmin-Cervélo were left floundering behind.

On the descent of the Fromberg Jelle Vanendert set a furious pace to ensure that his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Gilbert and the break would not be reeled in.

Leopard Trek made its bid for victory over the top of the Keutenberg, the day's penultimate climb, as Andy Schleck accelerated away from the lead group.

Over the final 13 kilometres the Tour de France runner-up stretched out his lead but never had more than 10 seconds as Omega Pharma-Lotto kept him in check. Rabobank, with their cards still to play, looked like the strongest bet for a win as Freire, Gesink and Sanchez all sat in and let Gilbert's team work.

However, with the final climb of the Cauberg up to the finish to come and Schleck's lead hovering around five seconds, it was Jelle Vanendert again who did the work before Rodriguez hit out for home, catching Schleck in the process.

It would have been the winning play if the Spaniard and 2010 world number one didn't have Gilbert glued to his wheel and in the final 400 meters the Belgian came through to take his second Amstel title in two years, joining Dutchman Jan Raas as the only riders to win back-to-back editions.

The early break

A peloton of 190 riders left the paved Markt in Maastricht, Holland and set out along the twisting roads on the east side of the provincial town near the Belgian and German borders. As in most other spring Classics this season it took a long time before the early break formed.

After 90 minutes of racing a group of four eventually received the freedom to go: local rider and breakaway specialist Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano), Belgian Thomas Degand (Veranda's Willems-Accent) and Italians Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Pier Paolo De Negri (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli).

Nobody bothered chasing the four leaders and after 100 kilometres the gap was up to 12 minutes. It was the biggest local team, Rabobank, who took the initiative in the peloton and once they worked the gap quickly dropped back to three minutes on the demanding, hilly roads.

Rabobank reshuffles cards: two old and two new leaders

With 90 kilometres to go Rabobank put the pedal to the metal and thanks to the efforts from Maarten Tjallingii and Bram Tankink the peloton split apart. On the Sibbergrubbe Luis Leon Sanchez put their good work to use with a solo attack which was neutralized by Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM).

Hitting the Cauberg for the second time, the peloton re-grouped at only half a minute from the leaders, just as Timmer and Ponzi were dropped. The peloton was looking increasingly nervous and after the Cauberg another Rabobank attack followed, this time from Carlos Barredo.

The Spaniard needed about 15 kilometres to close the gap to the two leaders. Belgian rider Jan Ghyselinck (HTC-Highroad) also closed the gap on his own, creating a leader's group of four. Omega Pharma-Lotto kept the gap under a minute and slowly the time started dropping until they were caught when reaching the Loorberg with 36km remaining.

Finale gets underway

A grouped peloton headed to the important Gulperberg which opens the finale at 28km from the finish line atop the Cauberg in Valkenburg.

It was here that Leopard Trek teammates Fabian Cancellara and Fränk Schleck both crashed, the Luxembourg national champion crashing first and bringing down the Swiss rider.

While their race was over, it was at this point Omega Pharma-Lotto and then Katusha began to up the pace.

Full Results
1Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto6:30:44
2Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team0:00:02
3Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Procycling0:00:04
4Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek0:00:05
5Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha Team
6Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
7Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:07
8Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShack0:00:18
9Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:19
10Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:26
11Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek0:00:28
12Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:36
13Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:48
14Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team0:01:38
15Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:01:39
16Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team0:01:44
17Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:02:09
18Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
19Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:10
20Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard Trek0:02:13
21Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:02:14
22Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
23Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
24Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:02:15
25Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
26Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:18
27Nick Nuyens (Bel) Saxo Bank Sungard
28Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:02:20
29Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:21
30Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
31Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling
32Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
33Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:02:23
34Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
35Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana0:02:24
36Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-Highroad
37Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale
38Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:26
39Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano
40Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team0:02:27
41Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team
42Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team0:02:28
43Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
44Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShack
45Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD
46Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
47Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:29
48Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team
49Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team
50Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
51Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
52Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:34
53Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:02:36
54Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling0:02:40
55Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team RadioShack0:02:46
56Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
57Stephen Cummings (GBr) Sky Procycling
58Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:02:47
59Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
60Iván Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:02:48
61Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team
62Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad0:02:54
63Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek0:02:57
64Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek
65Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team0:02:58
66Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
67Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:21
68Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Pro Team Astana0:03:25
69Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:03:57
70Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:04:19
71Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
72Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli0:04:39
73Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
74Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
75Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky Procycling0:04:48
76Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:05:54
77Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet0:05:55
78James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
79Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
80Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
81Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:05:59
82Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
83Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Skil - Shimano0:06:00
84Marc De Maar (AHo) Quickstep Cycling Team
85Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:06:01
86Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
87Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:06:02
88Matthew Busche (USA) Team RadioShack
89Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
90Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:06:03
91Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
92Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:06:04
93Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
94Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack0:06:05
95Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
96Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling0:06:27
97Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
98Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:06:31
99Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:07:18
100Jürgen Van Goolen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:08:03
101Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:08:13
102Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team0:08:14
103Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
104Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:08:15
105David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - ISD
106Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Pro Team Astana0:08:25
107Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
108Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team0:09:11
109Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano0:09:12
110Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana
111Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team
112Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:09:13
113David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
114Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
115Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
116Jesús Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:09:14
117Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:09:16
118Michel Kreder (Ned) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:09:17
119Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad0:12:24
120Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Skil - Shimano
121Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard0:12:25
122Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:12:26
123Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team
124Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
125Bram Schmitz (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:12:27
126Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
127Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:13:18
128Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
129Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:13:19
130Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
131Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:13:21
132Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team
133Danny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad0:13:24
134Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:13:28
135Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:13:31
136Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team0:13:33
137John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:13:34
138Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) HTC-Highroad0:13:44
139Reinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet0:13:48
140Grégory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent0:13:59
141Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:14:14
142Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling0:15:03
DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
DNFJurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
DNFJussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-Lotto
DNFGuillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFRinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFChristophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFMathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
DNFJon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFAlan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFMatthew Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad
DNFCaleb Fairly (USA) HTC-Highroad
DNFYuriy Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team
DNFManuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISD
DNFAlessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD
DNFDiego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
DNFJens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek
DNFAnders Lund (Den) Leopard Trek
DNFDamiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNFDominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNFSimone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNFRui Costa (Por) Movistar Team
DNFJosé Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFEnrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFMaarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
DNFJonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
DNFMads Christensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
DNFLaurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard
DNFGustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard
DNFKurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Procycling
DNFJohan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo
DNFSergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team RadioShack
DNFGrégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Team RadioShack
DNFRob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFLuis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
DNFElia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
DNFGianluca Mirenda (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
DNFDavide Ricci Bitti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
DNFBenjamin Gourgue (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
DNFBert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano
DNFYann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano
DNFJohan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
DNFSteven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
DNFArnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent
DNFStefan Van Dijk (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent


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