• Philippe Gilbert and Michal Kwiatkowski playing for the Amstel Gold Race win. (Getty)Source: Getty
Philippe Gilbert won a career fourth Amstel Gold Race in a two-up sprint after Anna van der Breggen had soloed to victory in the women event.
By
Cycling Central

17 Apr 2017 - 5:55 AM  UPDATED 17 Apr 2017 - 8:19 AM

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) beat Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) in a two-man sprint finish to claim the the Amstel Gold Race for the fourth time.

The pair jousted for the victory in the final kilometre as the peloton bore down on them with Kwiatkowski the first to launch his bid with more than 300 metres left.

Gilbert surged past in the final metres to claim victory in the battle between two former world champions while Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott) won the five-man sprint for third.

“In the end with Kwiato we went hard, I saw the guys behind were on the limit. I was too but if you can find one or two percent more it makes the difference,” Gilbert said.

“I told him (Kwiatkowski), ‘We ride until the last K (kilometre) and the best man wins’. That’s the best deal you can make.”

“He surprised me a little in the sprint, but it was a headwind so I didn’t panic, and I saw I was getting closer and closer, and it was perfect for me in the end."

VAN DER BREGGEN SOLOS

The women’s race was decided earlier when Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) soloed to victory from a six-rider break which included team-mate Lizzie Deignan.

“This was the big goal of the spring, not only this race but the upcoming two races,” van der Breggen said. “I’m happy to have this shape finally now. You can gamble on this week, but it’s always hard to have the right shape at the right time."

Deignan finished 45 seconds in arrears along with Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie) who finished equal third with Orica-Scott's Annemiek van Vleuten.

“It was a bit confusing at the finish,” van Vleuten said. “The positioning of the line was strange, there was another line before the actual finish line and I thought I was already there and I suddenly thought no, I’m fourth! But in the end it was joint third, so that’s ok.”

The women covered 121km and 17 climbs with the wind and Cauberg proving decisive in separating the peloton at key points.

A solid group of 35 riders held one-minute over the chasers on the first ascent of the Cauberg and as the TV pictures began to roll with 20km to go, four riders held 30 seconds on a chasing group of 16.

A swap at the front saw the four replaced by a trio or riders including Deignan. Those three became six with less than 10km to go as van der Breggen, van Vleuten and Sunweb's Coryn Rivera bridged.

It was on the final ascent of the Cauberg where van der Breggen staked her claim for the victory, quickly riding out to a 30 second advantage, a time gap she improved on at the finish.