Amstel Gold Race 2017 / 16 April / Maastricht-Vilt
The Amstel Gold Race always starts at the Grote Markt in Maastricht, a beautiful place in the south of the Netherlands. But this time the presentation on the podium was pretty special, because for the first time in years, the women were present too. A lot of classics have been added to the women’s calendar in the past years and this year the Amstel Gold Race was added as well. A lot of female riders were psyched about riding this race, because they had asked for it for so long. The winner of the women’s edition of the race was Anna van der Breggen.
The breakaway of the day consisted of 12 riders: Lars Boom (TLJ), Tim Ariesen (RNL), Stijn Vandenbergh (ALM), Pieter Vanspeybrouck (WGG), Kenneth Van Rooy (SVB), Nikita Stalnov (AST), Mads Würtz Schmidt (KAT), Michal Paluta (CCC), Brendan Canty (CDT), Johann van Zyl (DDD), Vincenzo Albanese (BAR) and Fabien Grellier (DEN). This group was able to stay away for almost 200 kilometres, but Team Sunweb, Lotto and BMC fought hard to get them back.
Then a new group was formed with Philippe Gilbert (QST), Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY), Sergio Henao (SKY), Michael Albasini (ORS), José Joaquím Rojas (MOV), Ion Izagirri (TBM), Nathan Haas (DDD) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (TLJ). At the Bemelerberg, Kwiatkowski and Gilbert were the ones who got away and got to fight for the victory. It was Philippe Gilbert who won the sprint à deux.
So the 52nd edition of the Amstel Gold Race was exciting to watch until the very end, where Philippe Gilbert managed to secure his fourth Amstel Gold Race victory. Gilbert also won this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, so this was already the second classic that he added to his palmares this year. Michael Albasini (ORS) became third and was a bit disappointed about his result, because he had hoped for a bunch sprint. Kwiatkowski wasn’t able to beat Gilbert in the sprint. “He fought and came back in those final metres. Gilbert is a champion, we must not forget that.” Unfortunately after the race it turned out that Gilbert had a serious kidney injury due to a crash and has to take some time off to recover.