44th Amstel Gold - Live Part 1
The early break of six riders out to prove that resistance is not futile - up
the road with a 3 minute gap...
The peloton crowds on the climb of one of the 31 bergs. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Welcome to our live coverage of the 44th edition of the Amstel Gold race.
With 31 classified climbs, the Amstel Gold race could barely be any more
different from the flat, yet brutal terrain of the Paris - Roubaix race that
were passed over last weekend. Nonetheless, the 258km ride today, setting off
from Maastricht should provide us with another exciting day of racing.
Frank Schleck climbs with the peloton on the Gulperberg. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
191 riders set out this morning, with Cervelo's Dan Lloyd not taking
the start. 2008 winner Damiano Cungeo (Lampre, Bib #1) is seeking back-to-back
victories, while Alejandro Valverde will be looking to add this race to his list
of successes, that contains Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
However, many are questioning whether the Spaniard (Bib #48) will be focused on
the race following recent off the bike allegations.
Team Saxo Bank could be a team to look out for; Alexandr Kolobnev (Bib
# 171) and both the Schleck brothers have placed highly in big single day
events. Kolobnev placed 2nd in the Stuggart World Championships of 2007, and
fourth in the Olympic Road Race last year. Andy Schleck trailed his team-mate in
Beijing, while brother Frank was a winner here in 2006. He was beaten into
second by Cunego last year, so will be a marked man over the tricky climbs.
My outside bet for today is Nick Nuyens, riding for Rabobank. Being on home
soil, his team will want to show their sponsor off to their home nation - Oscar
Freire may be their leader today, but I can't see him placing well at the top of
1504 CEST - 170 km, 88km to go We join
the race in progress... A breakaway group have a lead of around 3 minutes and 20
seconds on the
Peloton. The riders upfront are Yukiya Arashiro (Bouygues Telecom), Katusha's
Sergei Klimov (Katusha), Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano), Borut Bozic (Vacansoliel),
Niki Terpstra (Milram) and Rubens Bertogliati (Diquigiovanni). The break
escaped just a handful of kilometres after the race got underway at 10:15am.
The six man break Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
The gap soared to around thirteen minutes, prompting Caisse d'Epargne,
Rabobank and Euskatel to chase. With 130km to go, the gap was around 7'15", and
30km down the road, the Peloton had gained three minutes on the escapees.
1514 CEST - The race hits the Cauberg for
the second time. The Peloton are 2'14" behind our six leaders.
1516 CEST - Thomas Dekker: 'The
Bosberg is the key moment, it's always important to be at the front there'.
Samuel Sanchez: 'It's a race I like, I like the finish of the Cauberg. The race
is the essence of Cycling; it's man versus man. Team work and earpieces have
1519 CEST - The gap is down to 1'29".
Oscar Freire is having a dig off the Peloton, and while he isn't getting very
far the pace is increasing. Team mate Stef Clement is struggling at the back of
the pack. The Spaniard is continuing his attack.
CRASH - a Lotto rider is down. So is FRANK SCHLECK. He is not moving,
possibly a problem with his Collarbone. A neck brace goes on, and the Medical
Ambulance is there. Four people are around Schleck, and the Lotto rider is
Matthew Lloyd. Schleck is moving both legs, while Lloyd still shows few signs of
The break climbs the Gulperberg Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1525 CEST - 68km
to go. Our six man leading group have a lead of around 1'25". They
will be reeled in before too long. There appears to be a 20 man group ahead of
the main peloton, though the information over Race Radio is extremely patchy at
the moment. Potentially, this could have stemmed from the pressure applied by
Oscar Freire. Tony Martin is in it. I think the leading group are sitting up for
this second group.
Just in: In the first stage of the
Jelajah Tour in Malaysia, veteran
Japanese rider, Makoto IIjima (Bridgestone Anchor) took the win and leaders
jersey with Amir Zargari of (Azad University ) second and neo-por Ahmad Haidar
Anuawar (Trek Marco Polo) third.
1529 CEST - Schleck and Lloyd are still
lying on the road. I think Schleck may have broken his Collarbone.
Albersini is also in the second group, and I believe Gustav Erik Larsson is in
it too. Garmin and Liquigas also have riders in this second group.
1531 CEST - Niki Terpstra has attacked
from the leading group, He has gained a sizeable lead on his companions, while
Lloyd is getting stretchered into an Ambulance. Frank Schleck is still lying
flat, this is a serious accident sadly. Schleck was targeting this Race, and was
also being tipped to do well in the Tour de France.Schleck is going into the
Ambulance, a concerned Bjarne Riis is looking on worryingly. Let's hope it
proves to be less damaging than it appears at the moment.
Milram's Terpstra is still alone upfront. Skil Shimano, BBox Bougyues
Telecom, Francaise des Jeux and Columbia (possibly Pinotti) represented in the
second group. Katusha have a rider there too, it's Albert Timmer.
Niki Terpstra attacks the break. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1540 CEST - 41km to go. The six
leaders have just passed over the Bemelerberg, Climb 23 out of 31; the Wolfsberg
is next on the menu in 8 kilometers.
1545 CEST - Ryder Hesjedal and Valerio
Agnoli are in the chase group. Terpstra is alone, and a mix of the original six
man group and the twenty chasers have formed in persuit of the leader. It
appears that seven riders are chasing the Milram rider, while the others have
dropped back to the Caisse d'Epargne led Peloton.
Freire and Agnoli have caught Terpstra. It's actually Marcus Burghardt
(Columbia) who is upfront; he has just bridged the gap up to the three man lead
group. Earlier, we had thought it was Tony Martin and/or Marco Pinotti.
Burghardt won Gent Wevelgem in 2007, and has gone straight to the front to
inject some pace. Four in the lead chase group: Terpstra, Agnoli, Burghardt and
Freire, this group has possibilities, the only question is if they have gone too
1548 CEST - The Peloton almost grinds to
a standstill as a narrow 90 degree right turn almost catches an Euskatel rider
out. Oscar Pereiro is pulling hard on the peloton. It appears that it is just
our 4 man lead group out front now, with everyone else having been caught.
1552 CEST - 48km to go,
15 seconds is the gap between our leaders and
the Peloton. Parts of this route are ridiculously narrow, and littered with
unnecessary street furniture. Lots of 'Traffic Calming Measures', as they are
described back in the UK.
If Damiano Cungeo wins today, the winners of Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix
and Amstel Gold will have been the winners of the respective races from 2008.
1600 CEST - 15 seconds is the gap. Our
leading group is Oscar Freire (Rabobank, #121), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas #101),
Niki Terpstra (Milram, #165) and Marcus Burghardt (Columbia, #143) More street
1603 CEST - The Peloton does not seem to
have much urgency to it. No one team is pulling hard. Apparently Frank Schleck
suffered a blow to his head;although he wanted to get back on his bike before
being told otherwise. The TV Cameras pick up Alejandro Valverde, who looks calm
despite the events of the past couple of weeks. He's in second wheel as his team
mobilize up front. Johan Van Summeren is upfront too, as is Sylvain Chavanel.
Mick Rogers attacks on the Gulperberg Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
1606 CEST - The leaders reach Slenaken,
which comes with 39 km remaining. the leaders are on the Climb 25 - The Loorberg
- 1500 metres long with an average gradient of 6%. The Peloton are over the top
of the climb now, the gap to our leaders isn't too big at all now. Dries
Devenyns (Quick Step, 115) has attacked from the Peloton. He's about half
way between the leading 4 and the main pack. About six kilometers to the
Gulperberg which will try the riders road weary legs with its 10% average
1613 CEST - The group has been caught,
and it is Devenyns alone upfront. He has a few seconds on the back, currently
being led by Columbia.
1614 CEST - Mechelen,
32km to go. Our lone leader is still riding
hard, but the Peloton are on his trail. The pack is strung out, with many riders
struggling to hold the wheel in front. There's been a crash in the Peloton,
Johan Coenen (Vlaanderen, #222) has just changed his bike. Upfront Michael
Rogers (Columbia, #148) has joined up with Devenyns. The duo have a lead of 5
seconds, which is about to be bridged.
Rogers catches Yukiya Arashiro Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti
We hit climb 26, the Gulperberg - An attack from Liquigas. - 28km to go.
1624 CEST - A small breakaway group of
about six riders has emerged from the attacks over the Gulperberg. 6 bergs left
on the menu as we approach our finale in Valkenburg.
Coverage Continues in Part 2
Gold - Parcours, Map & Bergs
"44th Amstel Gold -
Gold Race - A Historical View
44th Amstel Gold -
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230.9 km - 26. Gulperberg, asphalt
Height: 155 metres Length: 600 metres Slope: 10%
- 27. Kruisberg, poor asphalt
Height: 160 metres Length: 700 metres Slope: 8%
238.1 km - 28. Eyserbosweg, poor asphalt
Height: 180 metres Length: 900 metres Slope: 11.5%
241.8 km - 29. Fromberg Afvaartweg, asphalt
Height: 165 metres Length: 1600 metres Slope: 5%
246.3 Km - 30. Keutenberg asphalt
Height: 160 metres Length: 1200 metres Slope: 8%
257.7 km - 31. Cauberg 250 (.9 km to finish)
Height: 130 metres Length: 1000 metres Slope: 8%
258.6 km Finish Valkenburg