Sunday 17 April 2011 at 16h58

For the second time in row Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) won the Dutch classic, the Amstel Gold Race 2011, this afternoon.

An attempt by Andy Schleck in the final part of the race finally didn't work out and the Leopard-Trek team again ended one of the classics with a deception ...


A summary of the Amstel Gold Race 2011

This morning the 46th edition of the Amstel Gold Race start with 190 riders under a shining sun.

The good weather was a reason for several riders to attack early in the race but due to the high speed at the start of the race (46,5 km/h in the first our of the race), no one really got a chance to break away.

It was only after 64 kilometers that 4 riders managed to get away when they were in the city of Schoonbron: Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Pierpaolo De Negri (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) and Thomas DegandThomas Degand (Veranda's Willems-Accent, photo). The peloton really let them go and their gap thus quickly got bigger and bigger. At the first crossing on the top of the Cauberg and thus the first crossing of the finish line, their gap was already up to 3'20" and it finally went up to a maximum value of no less than 11'40".

While approaching the climb of the Loorberg, at about 160 kilometers from the finish, the 4 riders started to lose some of their gap thanks to the hard work of the riders of the Rabobank team leading the peloton. Thanks to their work and their collaboration with Team Leopard-Trek the gap stabilised around 3 minutes.

At about 90 kilometers from the finish, the whole Rabobank team, riding in special Ride for the roses shirts, again took the lead of the peloton and brings the gap further back to under one minute at 80 kilometers from the finish. At that time, Johan van Summeren (Team Garmin-Cervélo), last week's winner of Paris-Roubaix 2011, decided to drop back and continue quietly to the finish where he could abandon.

Luis Léon SanchezAt the same time, Luis Léon Sanchez (Rabobank) attacked on the climb of the Sibbergrubbe from the head of the peloton. Protected by the whole group of Rabobank riders leading the peloton the Spanish rider easily got away. In the same climb, Albert Timmer could temporarily no longer follow the speed of the leading group, but the Dutch rider managed to get back on the three other riders of the leading group in the descent.

Sanchez was taken back before the Cauberg already and in the climb to the second crossing of the finish line, Timmer and Ponzi were also taken back by the peloton. De Negri and Degand cross the finish line with a gap which was back to only 18 seconds on the first group which followed behind them.

Carlos BarredoAt about 70 kilometers from the finish, Rabobank decides it's Carlos Barredo's turn to attack on a flat part of the race. On the Bemelerberg the second Spanish rider of the Rabobank team bridged the gap to the two riders of the leading group and in the mean time, Jan Ghyselinck (Team HTC-Highroad) also got away from the peloton and slowly bridged the gap to the leading group. The Belgian rider of the American team joined the leading trio a few kilometers further as well and that brought the leading group back to 4 riders.

At the end of the climb of the Loorberg, at about 36 kilometers from the finish, the peloton almost got back on the leading group and just before the junction, Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Team Leopard-Trek) decided to bridge the gap with the leading group first. A bit later the whole bunch got back together.

Johnny HoogerlandWhen an attempt to escape by Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) doesn't succeed, the leading group he formed temporarily is the sign for several other riders to give it a try. Among them, we most importantly saw Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha Team), Jurgen van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and finally Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team).
The real attack which managed to brake away actually came at 11 kilometers from the finish with Andy Schleck (Team Leopard-Trek) who gave it a try on his own. Behind him the pursuit was started by Philippe Gilbert and Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Martin Kohler (BMC Racing Team), Danny Pate (Team HTC-Highroad), Alexander Kolobnev and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team), Jakob Fuglsang (Team Leopard-Trek), Oscar Freire and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Ben Hermans (Team Radioshack) and Johnny Hoogerland and Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team).

While the rider from Luxembourg managed to stay ahead up until the final climb of the Cauberg, Joaquim Rodriguez finally managed to get back and over him quite easily, together with Gilbert. Rodriguez did the hardest work but in the last few hundreds of meters, the Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert took over the lead and he actually had time to celebrate his win of his second Amstel Gold Race in row in the last hundred meters!

The top 10 of the final classification of the Amstel Gold Race 2011

Here's the top 10 of the 46th Amstel Gold Race:

1/ Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - 6h30'44"
2/ Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) - +0'02"
3/ Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) - +0'04"
4/ Jakob Fuglsang (Team Leopard-Trek) - +0'05"
5/ Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha Team)
6/ Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
7/ Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) - +0'07"
8/ Ben Hermans (Team Radioshack) - +0'18"
9/ Robert Gesink (Rabobank) - +0'19"
10/ Paul Martens (Rabobank) - +0'26"

door Thomas Vergouwen
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