Former World Champion, Philippe Gilbert won the Amstel Gold classic after a solo attack at the end of the 251km race. Orica-GreenEDGE rider and Australian Champion, Simon Gerrans finished on the podium, but did not have the legs to follow the solo attack by Gilbert. Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) edged out Gerrans for second place.
[quote_center]”This was a particularly emotional win for me,” Gilbert said. “My wife and my kids were here for the first time in two years. So to have won will be something they will never forget. I have been dreaming of this.”[/quote_center]
Philippe Gilbert attacked on the famous Cauberg climb to win the 251km Ardennes classic. The former world champion won the classic for the third time, after the Belgian made his timely attack near the base of the Cauberg and soloed the final 3km to victory. A group of riders, including Vanendert and Gerrans, jumped out of the dwindled main field in response to the attack but were unable to close the gap before the finish line in Valkenburg.
Gerrans, who was well supported by his Orica-GreenEDGE team-mates finished third for the third time in the Amstel Gold classic.
[quote_box_center]“Everyone did their job today,” said Gerrans. “We all did everything we could. We were beaten by a stronger guy on the day. We couldn’t have done much more, so we have to be proud of that.”[/quote_box_center]
“Third time third, particularly with third last year, is a little disappointing,” Gerrans added. “I would have loved to have improved my result. The goal was to win today, so anything less would always have felt like we had fallen a bit short but to finish on the podium of Amstel Gold is still a pretty satisfying result.”
“Mat Hayman had looked after me for the majority of the day,” said Gerrans. “He stayed with me for the first 200 kilometres. When we hit the climbs, Mat moved me to the front. I needed to stay there from that point on so that I would be in a good position to respond to any attacks that it might be necessary for me to cover.”
When Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) attacked over the Kruisberg, in an attempt to bridge across to the remainder of the early break, Orica-GreenEDGE’s Pieter Weening was quick to follow his wheel. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) had a similar idea. A six rider chase group with a small but steady advantage emerged.
The peloton eventually caught the chase group and remnants of the break with the race all together with seven kilometres to go.