The Dutch one-day classic race for the first time on Sunday was captured by Philippe Gilbert of Belgium after negotiating an extreme approach on the 31st and final ascend of the Amstel Gold Race. Coping up well in the lead, Gilbert in the heart-stopping final stages of the 257.8 km race synchronized and executed his rhythmic drive to an unparalleled level at less than 500 metres from the famous Cauberg Climb to the finish line.
The Belgian rider felt really strong today airing it public in Belgian television. Gilbert further stated, “I had good help from my team over the first 200 kilometers. When the race opened up with 40 kilometers to go, I was just following the leaders.”
Gilbert of team Omega Pharma-Lotto handed its first gold of the season. Coming down stretch to the finish line and leaving behind Canadian Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Transitions and Italian Enrico Gasparotto of Astana, he had more than enough space and time to spare. He also won last year’s late season in Paris-Tours aside from winning the same in 2008 and won the Giro di Lombardia as well. This is Gilbert’s fourth career success in a major one-day classic and in a week’s time, he set up for much monumental challenges.
The famous “Ardennes Classics” is in full swing and Amstel Gold race is the first of the three races. Come Wednesday, the Fleche Wallonne kicks off while Liege-Bastogne will be on next Sunday.