Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) has won the Amstel Gold Race classic in a sprint finish, with Australian Michael Matthews finishing fifth.

He easily won a two-man sprint to claim a second victory in the 248.3km Ardennes classic from Maastricht to Berg-en-Terbijt.

Tim Wellens (lotto-Soudal) attacked shortly before the final climb on the Cauberg Hill with eight kilometres left but was caught by Gasparotto and Michael Valgren (Tinkoff).

The duo collaborated well at the front to resist the peloton and Gasparotto came out of Valgren's slipstream about 150 metres from the finish.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) won the peloton's sprint to finish in third place.

"I had incredible legs today. Everything went as we planned. It is the most beautiful victory for the team," Gasparotto said. "The team did a really good job. We had a rider in the break and then Björn Thurau in a chase group. The rest of the team protected me very well. It was perfect."

Australian Michael Matthews, riding for Orica-GreenEDGE, finished fifth.

Gasparotto's win was the first this season for the Team Wanty-Gobert, which last month mourned the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall during Gent-Wevelgem.

Gasparotto, who claimed his previous title in the spring classic in 2012, dedicated his win to Demoitié.

"I had to wait for the good moment because there was a huge headwind in the last meters. After the Volta a Catalunya I trained two weeks in Spain. I felt already good in Brabantse Pijl.

"This victory is for Antoine Demoitié’s family. Today, I had an angel on my schoulder. When I thought about Antoine, I went faster."

Monday 18 Apr 2016

Before the official flag waved to signal the race start, Fabio Felline was caught up in a freak solo crash, sustaining numerous injuries to his face.

"Fabio crashed with his face directly into the ground," team physician Jens Hinder said. "He sustained a broken nose and cuts to his face and the radiologists also found a fracture at the base of the skull.

"He needs further examination to determine if it is stable or unstable and this will determine what treatment is required for recovery. It is too early to know until he undergoes further tests."

“My big mistake this year was to try and stay in front and I used some energy on that, but in the end it turned out pretty well. When me and Gasparotto were away he wasn’t able to work with me, so I figured Ok, if I just go to the left and try to pull a hard tempo and keep the peloton away, maybe I could beat him in the sprint, but I was dead in the end.

“The Cauberg is always really hard, but the last time the crowd helped me fly over it so that was pretty nice. The last 2.5km was really painful. I didn’t attack to go to Gasparotto – I just pulled a hard tempo and the other guys didn’t want to pull with me, so I closed the gap and just had to continue with him.

“I hope to win Amstel Gold in the future. Already at last year’s race I was feeling really, really good and this is a race that suits me very well, but it’s a really hard race – hectic all day and you have to be lucky not to have crashes, and if you have a puncture you’re also in the back. I was lucky today, and strong, but in the future I hope I can be even stronger.”

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Amstel Gold pre-race pro team wrap
The Amstel Gold Race is on this Sunday. The 51st edition features 34 climbs across 264km in the Dutch Limburg region, starting from Maastricht to the final Cauberg climb.