In the Netherlands and abroad, there has been admiration for Mathieu van der Poel's victory in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. Lance Armstrong could not believe his eyes in the final of the Limburg classic.
It was bizarre that Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang seemed to decide who was going to win.
The Frenchman and the Dane prepared for a sprint a deux , but in the final kilometer they were caught up by the chasing group, with Van der Poel in it. The Dutchman then sprinted to victory.
"This Amstel Gold Race was without a doubt the best cycling race I have ever seen," Armstrong writes on Twitter. "Absolutely incredible! Congratulations Mathieu van der Poel."
Amstrong, now 47 years old, finished second in 2001 in the Amstel Gold Race behind winner Erik Dekker, but due to drug use, the American was scrapped from the result years later.
Today's @Amstelgoldrace was hands down THE BEST bike race I have seen EVER. Absolutely incredible! Congrats @mathieuvdpoel!Avatar
"Did I see what I saw?"
Dekker has also responded to the performance of Van der Poel, who again ensured a Dutch victory after eighteen years. "I still wonder what I've been looking at. So spectacular. Van der Poel is a very special boy. Great," Dekker told the AD .
Special about the victory of 24-year-old Van der Poel, who ruled as a cyclist last winter, is also the fact that he rode the Amstel Gold Race for the first time. De Brabander has already shown his form in recent weeks with victories in Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl, but the way he sprinted to victory on Sunday also surprised former rider Bram Tankink.
"Did I see what I saw? This is impossible at all. Unlikely, phenomenal. What a course. Congratulations Mathieu!", Says Tankink, who stopped his career in 2018.
Overview: Winners Amstel Gold Race 2009-2019
2019: Mathieu van der Poel © Pro Shots
2018: Michael Valgren Andersen © ANP
2017: Philippe Gilbert © ANP
2016: Enrico Gasparotto © ANP
2015: Michal Kwiatkowski © ANP
2014: Philippe Gilbert © ANP
2013: Roman Kreuziger © ANP
2012: Enrico Gasparotto © ANP
2011: Philippe Gilbert © ANP
2010: Philippe Gilbert © ANP
2009: Sergey Ivanov © ANP
Jos Verstappen calls Van der Poel a hero
Reactions also flowed in from outside the cycling world. "Mathieu van der Poel. What a hero," writes former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen.
Incidentally, the Amstel Gold Race was Van der Poel's last road race this spring. He will be active as a mountain biker in the coming months. Last year Van der Poel became third at the World Mountain Bike Championship and in 2020 he will also go for an Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games
See also: Crying Van der Poel no longer took into account the win in Gold Race