The finish of today’s Amstel Gold Race has set Twitter abuzz – with some viewers reaching for the smelling salts as they wondered whether it might be the best-ever finish of a one-day race.
A relative newcomer to the calendar compared to the five Monuments, each of which have now celebrated their 100th birthday, –54th edition makes the Dutch race a stripling.
But the drama today was equal to anything we have seen in recent years at Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege or Il Lombardia.
World cyclo-cross champion Mathieu van der Poel has had a stellar debut Classics season on the road.
The big ones may have eluded him – though fourth at Flanders and, a week earlier, Gent-Wevelgem – suggests that the 24-year-old will be winning races of that stature over the cobbles before long.
However, victories at the Grand Prix de Denain, Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl mark him out as perhaps the star of the past month’s one-day races – and all that while riding not for a megabucks outfit, but for a UCI Professional Continental team, the Netherlands-registered outfit, Corenden-Circus.
Today, the action switched from Flanders and Norrthern France to the trio of races that make up Ardennes Week (only the second and third of which are actually in that geographic area, we know, but that’s how they are collectively termed).
As it headed towards its conclusion, today’s 265.7 kilometre race from Maastricht to Berg en Terblijt seemed destined to end in a two-way tussle between Jakob Fuglsang of Astana and Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Julian Alaphilippe.
Coming towards the final half-kilometre, a third rider bridged across and entered the equation – former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Team Sky.
And then, incredibly, like a locomotive – pulling as he was a train of riders behind him, as he had done for the previous 7 kilometres as he pretty much single-handedly reeled in a deficit of almost a minute to the leaders – the young Dutchman, whose father Adri won the Amstel Gold Race 29 years ago today came through to take a victory for the ages.
What a finish. Twitter, as you can imagine - or at least the cycling part of it - went into meltdown.
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) April 21, 2019
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.