The Ardennes Classics – Amstel Gold Race
Photos by Stefano Sirotti
The Amstel Gold Race probably wasn’t one of the Classics where cycling nuts got together, make cakes, dressed up in tuxedos, but it’s one hell of an exciting race nonetheless. Australia has only seen one winner of Amstel Gold and it was in 1983 where Phil Anderson soloed across the finish line in pouring rain with a dramatic win.
Simon Gerrans credits Phil Anderson with introducing him to cycling and being a mentor, so it’s fitting that Gerro is so well suited for this race. I couldn’t be happier to see Gerro overcome last year’s bad luck and cross the finish line in 3rd place to get that podium spot that he’s worked so hard for. Two years ago in 2009 Gerro did amazingly well in the Ardennes Classics with a 7th at Amstel Gold, 8th at La Fleche Wallonne (coming this Wednesday), and 6th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Sunday). I’m excited to see what the next week brings for Gerro since he’ll be confident and he’s shown he’s got good form.
Congratulations to Philippe Gilbert for his second Amstel Gold win. Can PhilGil be beaten in the Ardennes? Well, he’s has already shown he’s on form and perfectly suited for these technical and hilly races, but as well all saw in the Cobbled Classics with Cancellara, anyone can be neutralised with the right tactics. Gilbert doesn’t necessarily agree however. As he said after the yesterday’s race “You can’t trick anyone like in Flanders of Roubaix has happened in the past. On the Cauberg, the strongest rider wins.” Gilbert has to be my favorite rider to watch at the moment and I’m not gonna sit here and argue. He’d know better than I would, but that won’t stop me from cheering on Gerro!
Andy Schleck’s solo attack on the second last climb (the Keutenberg) with 12 km remaining and dangled at 10 seconds ahead
Gilbert with the best uphill kick in the business!
Caught with ~500m to to. At least he had a crack, but Andy’s got to be absolutely gutted!
Ceremony complete with beer and podium girls dressed in coasters.
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 6:30:44
2 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:00:02
3 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky 0:00:04
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:05
5 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha
6 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
7 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM 0:00:07
8 Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack 0:00:18
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:00:19
10 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank 0:00:26
96 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky 0:06:27
DNF Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil – Shimano (anyone know what happened to Mitch?)
DNF Koen de Kort (NED) Skil – Shimano (dealing with knee injuries)
BTW, how did Rabobank end up with 3 men in the final move (on their home turf) and not even get in the top 5? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the team bus afterwards…