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"I was just behind Sagan when Gilbert attacked. He lost the wheel of Gilbert and I was trying to follow Gilbert but I couldn't."

Photo: Sirotti






14.04.2013 @ 19:41 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Omega Pharma -Quick Step rider Michal Kwiatkowski was able to stay near the front of the 34 climb, 251km Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, even making his way into a select group on a slightly adjusted parcour that was sure to make the race one of attrition. Kwiatkowski and several others rode back to attacking World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) after the legendary Cauberg and contested a podium placing in the final metres. Kwiatkowski's 4th place finish was his first top 10 of a single day Classics race.

Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) won solo, after attacking the peloton with about 17 km to go, catching a breakaway, and going solo with 7 km to go. He had enough of a gap at the top of the Cauberg to stay away for the victory. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) was 2nd, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) 3rd.

OPQS had spent much of the day chasing at the front, with even Peter Velits taking a dig to try and put pressure on the rest of the peloton.

"I felt good, actually, two weeks after Flanders," Kwiatkowski said. "I came back home for a few days, rested a few days there and then went to Granada to train with my teammates there. I didn't know before the race how I would feel after 250 km, but in the end it was okay. Gianni and I were protected today. I was trying to stay near the front because I knew it was so tricky, this parcour. There can be many crashes, as you saw with many of them in the back.”


As for the final, I made a little mistake and was too far behind, and there was a crosswind from the left side. I was just behind Sagan when Gilbert attacked. He lost the wheel of Gilbert and I was trying to follow Gilbert but I couldn't. I tried to go to the top with the other guys and tried to do the sprint, not worrying about catching the first rider [Kreuziger]. Finally, I had really good legs for the sprint. I could do better on the sprint but am happy about my condition and also the teamwork. I am satisfied with what my teammates did for me, and want to thank them. I will do Flèche and Liege for more experience. I felt really good on the Cauberg but the final of Flèche is much harder, but we will see. I will take it day by day."

"I crashed with 100 km to go, but then came back, OK no problem," Gianni Meersman said. "Then with 50 km to go I had a flat tire, but came back again, and at the Keutenberg I was a block. From there I had to say 'bye bye.' It's a shame, but after three weeks of not racing and missing a little bit of competition I felt pretty good. Now I go home, and then I will do Tour de Romandie. I want to be good there. Last year I was 2nd, and then 4th in stages. So I want to be a protagonist there."

"We started this morning with the idea to protect Gianni and Michal," Sport Director Davide Bramati said. "Unfortunately Gianni was involved in a crash and then he had a flat tire in a bad moment, so we decided in the last lap to take the initiatives and try to close the gap in function of Kwiatowski. The team did a great effort. The guys did their job perfectly and they stayed united. Kwiatowski finalized the work of the entire team. Also, he showed he can be a protagonist on the cobblestones as well as on the short and steep climbs of the Ardennes classics."



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