Valgren and Blaak win Amstel Gold; Aussie Comm Games gold: Daily News Digest

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.

World champion Blaak outsprints Brand to win women’s Amstel Gold

by Simone Giuliani

The second edition of the women’s Amstel Gold Race came down to sprint between world champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) and Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb), with Blaak getting the better of her compatriot.

The Dutch pair headed over the top of the Cauberg and toward the finish with Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) but they were able to shake the Australian rider as soon as they wound up for the sprint. It quickly became clear that the wearer of the rainbow stripes had the edge and that Blaak would deliver another victory for the powerful Boels-Dolmans team.

Blaak, Brand and Spratt were all part of a breakaway of eight that established a gap with 60 kilometres to go after the peloton was split apart on the steep ramps of the Keutenberg. The group of eight contained most of the top teams, so the firepower of the peloton’s chase was limited. The attacks from the lead group kept coming, whittling the group down to the final three.

“It was very special,” said Blaak. “I have so many fans around the course, and I could hear my name so many times, that was really good for the morale. And it is great to win in the rainbow jersey in front of a home crowd. I really think that this was one of my most precious victories.”

The 117 kilometre Amstel Gold was the first of the three Women’s WorldTour Ardennes races that will play out over the next week. On Wednesday it will be time for Flèche Wallonne and then on Sunday, Liege-Bastogne-Liege.