Di Luca Wins Amstel Gold Race
Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) has won the Amstel Gold Race. The Italian outsprinted 10 companions to win Holland?s most important classic in 6:21:07. Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) finished second, and Mirko Celestino (Domina Vacanze) finished third.
The race began in cold, foggy, damp conditions in Maastricht. At four km, Erwin Thijs (Mr. Bookmaker) and Alain Van Katwijk (Shimano) made the day?s big break. At 10 km, Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) and Andriy Grivko (Domina Vacanze) joined the pair, and the quartet?s advantage ballooned to 12:30 at 57 km. The peloton then rode tempo to peg the break.
After 110 km, the bunch rode harder, and the break?s lead dropped. At 125 km, Van Katwijk was dropped and Grivko punctured. Eventually, the peloton absorbed them while Moreau and Thijs forged ahead. At 152 km, the escapees led the field by 8:00.
At 193 km, Leon van Bon (Davitamon) attacked from the bunch. Steffen Wesemann (T-Mobile) joined him, and the pair bridged up to the leaders at 227 km. Behind, the peloton, led by Rabobank, was at 0:15.
On the Kruisberg, van Bon and Moreau dropped Moreau and Thijs. On the next climb, the Eyserbosweg, Wesemann dropped van Bon, but David Etxebarria (Liberty Seguros), Mark Lotz (Quick Step), and Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) joined him. The quartet led the field by 0:22 at the top of the Fromberg and by 0:35 on the Keutenberg. Twelve km remained.
Ten chasers set out after the leaders. The chase group became 30 strong with nine km left, and the leading quartet had 0:10 on it. A regroupment occurred, however, and just before the Cauberg, the day?s final climb, the field came together.
Rabobank drove the field up the Cauberg to set up world champion Oscar Freire. Kroon led Rabobank?s train with 500 m left, and Boogerd took over with 300 m remaining. Freire, however, lost Boogerd?s wheel, and with 150 m left Di Luca charged to the front. The Spaniard had to content himself with 10th place.
Many of the participants in the Amstel Gold Race will ride the Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday. Who will win? Check out http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!