Amstel Gold Race ...Global Cycling Network
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Eventually the front group was caught and then further whittled down to just ten riders, including pre-race favourites Sagan and Valverde, and it did feel like all eyes were on them. The other riders seemed to sense that, and when Michael Valgren made a second scintillating attack, only Kreuziger reacted whilst the rest looked at each other.
Gasparotto escaped too, and for a long time sat agonisingly close to the two up front. For Valgren it must have been a nerve wracking sight - the Italian both outsmarted and outsprinted him two years ago, and he wasn’t going to let that happen a second time. He kept on the power enough to prevent Gasparotto bridging, and even managed to encourage Kreuziger to take a final turn, before easily outsprinting him to the line.
The women’s race split apart far earlier in the race - with sixty kilometres to go a group formed out front, again on the Keutenberg, and although many of the favourites had missed it, they soon forged a two and a half minute lead.
Over the top, though, with Alexis Ryan and Riejanne Markus not far behind, it seemed as though Spratt was riding to keep a place on the podium, understandable perhaps given that she’s never finished on the podium if a WorldTour one day race previously. The sprint between Brand and Blaak was taken in some dominant fashion by the World Champion. Just like the men’s winner, Blaak delivered a cool, calm and collected performance, and with it a popular home win.
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