Kwiatkowski Takes Amstel Gold

News & Results

04/20/2015| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Amstel Gold Race winner Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland Fotoreporter Sirotti

Kwiatkowski Takes Amstel Gold

Michal Kwiatkowski is the winner of Amstel Gold Race 2015.

Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) has won the Amstel Gold Race. The world road race champion took a small group sprint to win the rugged, 258-km ride from Maastricht to Valkenburg, The Netherlands in 6:31:49. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took second, and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) finished third.

On the third climb of the day’s 34, the break of the day formed. Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy Drink), Johan Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka), and Mike Terpstra (Team Roompot) sallied off of the front. The escapees’ lead ballooned to 10 minutes before the bunch began to chase.

BMC and CCC Sprandi Polkowice led the pursuit. Crashes occurred, and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal), who was last year’s runner-up, hit the deck, as did Lieuwe Westra (Astana), who abandoned.

At the first crossing of the finish line, the break’s lead was under six minutes. With about 80 km to go, Movistar took over at the front. The Spanish squad’s acceleration split the peloton on the Bemelerberg and cut the fugitives’ advantage to less than four minutes. Valverde had a mechanical problem, and his teammates had to pace him back to the bunch.

On the Gulpenerberg with less than 50 km left, Polanc, Gerdemann, and De Vreese were dropped. On the Eyserbowsbeg, David Tanner (IAM Cycling) and Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) attacked. The pair caught and dropped the remnants of the break.

Behind, a five-man chase group consisting of Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana teammate Diego Rosa, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team), and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin protected by POC) formed. Eventually, this group joined forces with Tanner and Clarke. On the Fromberg, with about 35 km left, the lead group led the chasers by 0:11 and the BMC-led peloton by 0:35. With 28 km remaining, Rosa and Caruso crashed. Movistar took over at the front, and the bunch closed on the break.

Nibali was unhappy with the escape’s collaboration. Clarke launched another attack. The pursuit, led by Etixx-Quick Step, reeled in the Nibali group and overhauled Clarke with eight km to go.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) countered. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) joined the Dane. Tinkoff-Saxo Bank and Movistar took command at the front. Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Ben Hermans (BMC) bridged up to the move, but the peloton smothered it, and Orica-GreenEdge went to the front.

On the final ascent of the Cauberg, Gilbert attacked. Matthews took the Belgian’s wheel. Valverde joined the pair, and a regroupment occurred at the summit, with Kwiatkowski getting on.

Van Avermaet led out the sprint. Valverde took the lead with Matthews in his wake. Kwiatkowski found an opening on the left of the lead group, charged into the lead, and held off Valverde and Matthews to win by a bike length. The victory is his first road win in the rainbow jersey.

Today’s win is a fillip to the morale of Etixx-Quick Step, the Belgian classics squad that came up empty in the cobbled classics. "This was a great day for me, the hard work paid off," the Pole said. "I'm really thankful that my teammates were so amazing today. I was always in the top 20 or 25 positions. I could relax the whole day. We had Tony (Martin) in the important breakaway and that was crucial for me. Of course I was suffering as well in a race with so many climbs. The second-to-last time up the Cauberg I said to Gianni Meersman, 'You know, I'm not feeling so good today.' But he said to me straight away that everyone is suffering with 34 climbs at this race and I have to make it. That gave me a lot of motivation before the last time up the Cauberg. I'm really thankful they believed in me until the last moment. In cycling you never know what to expect from those around you. You might look around and feel like no one is suffering but you, but you don't know the true situation until the last important acceleration."

"For the sprint I was able to sit in the slipstream and breathe a little bit, and that was important to recover from the effort on the Cauberg. I was able to get some energy back to go full gas in the select group sprint and win Amstel Gold Race. It's an amazing race here, with a difficult race from start to finish and so many fans of cycling on each climb. It's really special to get this win at the opening race of the Ardennes classics. Etixx-Quick-Step had a really strong first part of the season leading up to today. We had some bad luck with riders like Tom Boonen being injured before the cobbled classics. But we still tried to go for the win as we had many other cards to play. In cycling if you don't go for it, you're never going to get the victory. The whole team was happy about the podium at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix because we tried our best at those races. Today we had the same kind of effort and I am now at the top of the podium. We got the success we were trying so hard for."

"For sure, winning Amstel Gold Race in the rainbow jersey means a lot to both me and the team, and it is another example of how strong we are as a collective. I built up really well for this race, and winning here, which was my goal, I cannot describe my emotions. It's really big for me at this point in my career. For sure I will celebrate with my teammates tonight. They were key to helping me get this win. Then, we look next to the rest of the Ardennes classics with great morale."

Many of today’s riders will face off in the other Ardennes classics, Wednesday’s La Fleche Wallonne and next Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. How will they fare? Check in at and find out!

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