Enrico Gasparotto wins the Amstel Gold Race (Roberto Bettini)

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Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team) won a thrilling Amstel Gold Race, timing his sprint to perfection atop the Cauberg, to win ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol Team) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Three time world champion Oscar Freire (Katusha Team) finished fourth
after his bold attack in the closing 7 kilometres was caught in the
final meters of the race. Two-time defending champion, Philippe Gilbert,
(BMC Racing Team) had to settle for sixth behind Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

BMC had controlled the race throughout much of the closing stages but
Gilbert was left to do all the work on the final ascent of the Cauberg.
His acceleration first brought back Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma
QuckStep) and then Freire’s dying legs to within touching distance.
However the move proved as a spring board for the podium placers.

Sagan was the first rider to come around the Belgian champion but he
too ran out of gas, with Gasparotto accelerating on his left and
Vanendert on his right.

Maastricht treaty lasts until opening climbs

The riders had left the chilly start city of Maastricht with a
blessing of rain drops and a cold northern wind on their noses.
Typically many riders tried break clear on the first of the 31 climbs
but nobody gained enough in the first hour of the race, which was
covered at 45kph.

After nearly 60 kilometers of racing a large group finally was allowed
to go. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Pello Bilbao
(Euskaltel-Euskadi), Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Barracuda), Alex Howes
(Garmin-Barracuda), Steven Caethoven (Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda),
Cedric Pineau (FDJ-Big Mat), Simone Stortoni (Lampre-ISD), Sébastien
Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) and Eliot Lietar (Topsport
Vlaanderen-Mercator) were the lucky men.

During the second hour they gathered a maximum lead of 13:30 on the
peloton, with no teams wanting to chase. Eventually RadioShack-Nissan,
BMC and Katusha took the responsibility and gradually the gap went down.

When approaching the second ascent of the Cauberg the pace in the
peloton increased even more and after the Vrakelberg a first group of
riders was caught behind the peloton, including outsider Cadel Evans
(BMC). In front, the breakaway group lost ground. On top of the Cauberg
the gap was down to less than five minutes and that was also where Evans
abandoned the race.

Fans from Luxembourg on the course

With 55 km to go the breakaway group still had four minutes on the
peloton. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) went down on the
Bemelerberg and even though he was assisted by a couple of teammates his
race was almost over. When the pace increased inside the final 30
kilometres he was dropped. Meanwhile Danish rider Matti Breschel
(Rabobank) also abandoned the race.

The Wolfsberg, at 41km from the finish line on the Cauberg, was the
first of the last string of eight climbs. It proved to be the ground
where the Astana moved forward. The gap quickly dropped below two
minutes and the speed went up another notch when Chris Anker Sorensen
(Saxo Bank) attacked the peloton, without much success.

In front Bardet, Bilbao, Howes and Stortoni dropped their fellow
breakaway companions although Kreder and Delfosse returned little later.
The six remaining leaders entered the last 30km with an advantage of

The break split further when Bardet and Howes accelerated again.

Boasson Hagen was the first contender to attack inside the final 15
kilometres but the Sky rider was unable to gain more than 100 meters,
with the BMC trio of Mauro Santambrogio, Greg Van Avermaet and Gilbert
holding court at the head of the race.

Avermaet, was the perfect teammate, sacrificing his chances for
Gilbert, who was either confident of taking on Sagan in the sprint or
lacked the legs to attack earlier.

On the penultimate climb of the Keutenberg, Boasson Hagen was swiftly
brought back, with Bardet shelling his breakaway companion for the
second and final time.

Sky, Astana and Katusha were able to send probing attacks off the
front, and Thomas Voeckler and Sagan went briefly alone, but it was
Freire who struck a decisive blow with 7km to go, just after Bardet was
finally swallowed up.

Freire has never made the podium in Amstel and with Rabobank having
such a poor race with Breschel out and Gesink already dropped, Freire’s
former Dutch team must have been reeling when the Spaniard had a gap of
13 seconds.

But it wouldn’t be a Spring Classic without Omega Pharma-Quickstep
having their say, and Niki Terpstra accelerated away in pursuit of the
Spaniard as the race descended from the Keutenberg.

At the foot of the Cauberg Terpstra had failed to make contact, with a
tiring Van Avermaet leading a 20-strong group with Gilbert latched to
his wheel.

Gilbert’s attack displayed elements of panic and reluctant acceptance
at the same time, the rider well aware that everyone was watching him,
while also knowing that Freire was on the cusp of a shock win.

Terpstra was quickly reeled in and Gilbert’s second acceleration
caused the chase group to splinter. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) crashed
along with Lars-Peter Nordhaug (Sky), and with a fading Freire unable to
hold on the race came down to the strongest, but also the freshest in
the sprint for the line.


1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana

2 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale

4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team

5 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar

6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team

7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

8 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda

9 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

11 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Pro Team Astana

12 Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan

13 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

14 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

15 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda

16 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank

17 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team

18 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda

19 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team

20 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team

21 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling

23 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team Saxo Bank

25 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

26 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team

27 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team

28 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

29 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana

30 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Barracuda

31 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre – ISD

32 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

33 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team

34 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank

35 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre – ISD

36 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team

37 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

38 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

39 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

40 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling

41 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

42 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar

43 Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

44 Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos – Shimano

45 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

46 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos – Shimano

47 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

48 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team

49 Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar

50 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

51 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

52 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

55 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

56 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

57 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre – ISD

58 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

59 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

60 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda

61 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

62 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling

63 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team

64 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi

65 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

66 Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

67 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana

68 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Pro Team Astana

69 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

70 Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan

71 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

72 Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

73 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale

74 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan

75 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda

76 David Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank

77 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team

78 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Pro Team Astana

79 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team

80 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

81 Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

82 Christopher Horner (USA) Radioshack-Nissan

83 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team

84 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

85 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

86 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank

87 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team

88 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team

89 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

90 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda

91 Andy Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan

92 Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

93 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

94 Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar

95 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

96 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

97 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos – Shimano

98 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale

99 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank

100 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

101 Troels Ronning Vinther (Den) Team Saxo Bank

102 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale

103 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre – ISD

104 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

105 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre – ISD

106 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling

107 Yann Huguet (Fra) Argos – Shimano

108 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling

109 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team

110 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana

111 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar

112 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

113 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

114 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

115 Reinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

116 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team

117 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Argos – Shimano

118 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan

119 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

120 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team

121 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team

122 Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

123 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

124 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

125 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

126 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar

127 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

128 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

129 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team

130 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

131 Daryl Impey (RSA) GreenEdge Cycling Team

132 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

133 Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank

134 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

135 Simon Clarke (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team

136 Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

137 Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

138 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

139 Borut Bozic (Slo) Pro Team Astana

140 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos – Shimano

141 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre – ISD

142 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat

143 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda

144 Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team

145 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

DNF Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team

DNF Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team

DNF Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team

DNF Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale

DNF Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

DNF Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

DNF Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

DNF Jens Keukeleire (Bel) GreenEdge Cycling Team

DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team

DNF Christian Meier (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team

DNF Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team

DNF Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team

DNF Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) Lampre – ISD

DNF Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – ISD

DNF Stefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

DNF Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

DNF Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

DNF Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team

DNF Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

DNF Laurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan

DNF Joost Posthuma (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan

DNF Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling

DNF Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling

DNF Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling

DNF Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

DNF Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

DNF Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

DNF Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

DNF Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s

DNF Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

DNF Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

DNF Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

DNF Roberto De Patre (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia

DNF Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

DNF Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

DNF Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos – Shimano

DNF Albert Timmer (Ned) Argos – Shimano

DNF Franck Bouyer (Fra) Team Europcar

DNF Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar

DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator

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