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"The legs were good today but I just missed the first group that went on the Cauberg by a handful of seconds. I am happy with how I felt though and the team were great in helping me today."

Photo: MTN Qhubeka

AMSTEL GOLD RACE

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JOHANN VAN ZYL

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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19.04.2015 @ 19:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Amstel Gold Race would see the victory go to the World Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep). Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had much to smile about as well as Johann van Zyl would animate the race by forming part of the 6-man break of the day.

The ever dependable 'VanSnail' would find himself in the move along with Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Timo Roosen (Lotto-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy) and Mike Terpstra (Roompot) from the 25km marker. Van Zyl and his compatriots worked well to establish a lead of just on 11 minutes at one point. 

BMC Racing would take control of the peloton though as they lined-up with 3-time winner, Philppe Gilbert. The BMC team would slowly whittle down the lead until with 50km to go, the pace was full gas in the peloton. The 6 leaders would soon split and then get absorbed into the peloton. An ominous move of 5 riders that included the likes of Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) would be just under a minute clear with 27km to go.

Movistar put in a concerted chase to reel this last dangerous move back in while MTN-Qhubeka's Serge Pauwels was also see to be offering his services in the chase. Kristian Sbaragli was showing good signs in the now smaller 40 rider peloton and it was all systems go for the young Italian.

The final time up the Cauberg saw an explosive attack by Gilbert which resulted in a group of 18 riders just going clear over the top. Unfortunately Sbargali just missed this group but would cross the finish line in 20th position. Alejandro Valverde secured 2nd place with Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge) in 3rd.

"The legs were good today but I just missed the first group that went on the Cauberg by a handful of seconds. I am happy with how I felt though and the team were great in helping me today. While I am happy with my performance I want to come back to this race and fight for the victory," Sbaragli said.
 

"My goal for the day was to get into the break," van Zyl said. "It took a bit longer for the break to go than usual, I think I followed at least 15 attacks before the break got away. Once we were away I was happy to be in front and obviously to achieve the goal that I set myself for the day.

 

"My next goal was to try and win the most aggressive trophy but in the final there were three guys who were just a bit stronger than I was. In general though I think the team raced well, Kristian also got a top 20 so it was a good day in the office."

"I think we saw a very good Serge, a good Kristian and also Jacques [van Rensburg] was very good today. In the last 30kms he was a bit spent but he gave everything," sports director Michel Cornelisse said. "We did a good race in the front and that is what we want, we want our colours to be seen. We have missed that in March and the start of April but today was better. I am more positive after today's performance than I have been the last months. Kristian was also top 20 for us so it was a good race."

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