Amstel Gold Race 2014 / 20 April / Maastricht-Vilt
The Amstel Gold Race started, as usual, in the centre of Maastricht. It is the only Dutch classic and therefore many people in Holland travel all the way to the south of Limburg to celebrate cycling. On Saturday, the day before the race, about 15.000 people ride the course of the Amstel Gold Race for fun. Over the years, this has become a major event that even gets attention on national television. The following day, the course in Zuid-Limburg is full of fans who want to cheer on the riders. It is particularly crowded on the Cauberg in Valkenburg, where the riders pass four times before they finish in Vilt.
The breakaway of the day consisted of 10 riders: Pim Ligthart (LTB), Jarosław Marycz (CCC), Christophe Riblon (ALM), James Vanlandschoot (WGG), Alexey Lutsenko (AST), Manuel Belletti (AND), Preben Van Hecke (TSV), Pirmin Lang (IAM), Matej Mohorič (CAN) and Nicola Boem (BAR). The BMC Racing Team was at the front of the peloton for most of the day to chase down the breakaway. They had come up with a perfect plan for the finale: first Samuel Sánchez would attack on the Cauberg and then Philippe Gilbert would take over.
On the Eyserbosweg, a group of riders tried to get away and ride to the few riders that were still in front. This group included Thomas Voeckler (EUC), Pieter Weening (OGE), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Tim Wellens (LTB) and Jakob Fuglsang (AST). On the Fromberg (photo) they were chasing the riders from the early breakaway. They did not make it though and all riders were caught before the finale on the Cauberg. There it turned out that the BMC plan worked. Philippe Gilbert was the strongest rider on the Cauberg, managed to cross the finish line first in Vilt, and win the 49th edition of the Amstel Gold Race.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) won the Amstel Gold Race for the third time in his career. In 2010 and 2011 he had also proved to be the strongest attacker on the Cauberg. However, Jan Raas is still the rider with the most Amstel Gold Race victories. He won the race five times between the late seventies and the early eighties. Simon Gerrans (OGE) always seems to become third. He was third in 2011 and 2013, and also this year he did not manage to finish higher on the podium than the third place. Jelle Vanendert (LTB) became second.