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by Matt de Neef
April 16, 2018
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Michael Valgren wins Amstel Gold from late attack; World champion Blaak outsprints Brand to win women’s Amstel Gold; Steele von Hoff takes gold in Commonwealth Games fairytale finish; Chloe Hosking sprints to Comm Games gold; Matthews devastated by bad luck in Amstel Gold Race; Multiple fractures for Lucy Kennedy after Amstel Gold crash; Froome doesn’t want to give a running commentary on salbutamol case; Fabio Felline sidelined until late May with toxoplasmosis; Bora extends sponsorship through 2021; HiRide tests smart suspension at the cobbled classics; What it takes to ride the break at Amstel Gold Race.
Danish rider Michael Valgren (Astana) took a two-rider sprint to win the 53rd edition of the men’s Amstel Gold Race Sunday in Valkenberg, beating out former Amstel winners Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott), and Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida). World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won a small bunch sprint for fourth just ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
It was the second big win of the spring classics season for 26-year-old Valgren, who also won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 24, and a bit of redemption after finishing second to Gasparotto from a two-man sprint in 2016.
“It is kind of my thing now,” said Valgren, when reminded that his victory from earlier this year also came in a late move. “It worked in Nieuwsblad, I did the same in the Tour of Flanders with Gilbert, and also today. I think if you don’t try, you don’t win. I would never beat them [Sagan, Valverde and others] in a sprint. I have a decent sprint, but I would never win. So I had everything to win and nothing to lose, because I was second here once. I wasn’t riding for second again.
“I had to attack, but I had a really good help from Jakob [Fuglsang], who was setting up the pace and making the other guys tired. I can thank him and the rest of the team a lot for this victory.”
The race is always a whittling down process and a select group went clear over the top of the Bemelerberg, five kilometres from the line. Valgren, Kreuziger and Gasparotto were there, as were Sagan, Valverde, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors). Valgren tried with four kilometres left but was hauled back; he went again two kilometres later, and was joined by first Kreuziger and then Gasparotto.
Follow the link to read our full race report.