Photo gallery: Van der Poel’s astonishing Amstel ambush

by Matt de Neef

Mathieu van der Poel’s victory salute said it all. Powering across the line with his hand on his helmet, the 24-year-old shook his head in disbelief. He couldn’t believe what he’d just done, and neither could the millions watching around the world.

He and his chase group were gone for all money. Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang had the race sewn up. But then: a careless game of cat-and-mouse, confusion over time gaps — whatever the cause, van der Poel and others managed to make contact barely 300m from the line. The Dutch phenom had done most of the chasing.

The 24-year-old launched his sprint from way out; from before he caught the leaders. He sprinted from the front, hit open road, then kept on going, becoming the first Dutch winner of the Amstel Gold Race in 18 years.

Those closing kilometres seem destined to go down in legend. The replay makes for spine-tingling viewing, even after several repeats.

In the gallery below you’ll see a collection of images that document van der Poel’s remarkable win.

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