Mathieu van der Poel won the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The Dutch champion was the strongest in the sprint after a bizarre final.
The first hours of the race were colored by an escape of eleven riders, including Nick van der Lijke and Marco Minnaard. The two Dutchmen were accompanied by Michael Schär, Julien Bernard, Grega Bole, Marcel Meisen, Aaron Verwilst, Thomas Sprengers, Paolo Simion, Tom Van Asbroeck and Jérôme Baugnies.
The team got all the space they needed from the peloton and rode a maximum lead of almost eight minutes together. With about 90 kilometers to go, Simion had to release from the leading group through a cramp attack.
In the peloton, Astana then stepped up the pace a little, causing the refugee's lead to gradually decline. That difference was approximately two minutes at 60 kilometers from the finish. Not much later Minnaard and Verwilst dropped out of the leading group.
Van der Poel goes into the attack early
At the Gulpenerberg, Mathieu van der Poel thought it was already time to attack. Gorka Izagirre was accompanied by the Dutch champion, but the duo were caught just like the early refugees a few kilometers later.
Then Julian Alaphilippe demarcated and he was joined by Jakob Fuglsang. Shortly thereafter, Michal Kwiatkowski, Matteo Trentin and Michael Woods went in pursuit, although the Canadian fell back into the peloton a little later.
Alaphilippe and Fuglsang soon had a 50-second lead on the peloton, from which Peter Sagan had to release. Kwiatkowski and Trentin rode 20 seconds from the leading duo.
Several riders, including Bauke Mollema and Van der Poel, still escaped from the pack. In the final they came back and Van der Poel took the win.