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“My ideal scenario was that we reached the top of the Cauberg with a small group and that I could take off when the others hesitated. Only Gilbert crossed my plans," Vanedert says

Photo: Sirotti

AMSTEL GOLD RACE

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JELLE VANENDERT

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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PIM LIGTHART

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20.04.2014 @ 20:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Two years ago Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) proved that he has the potential to become of the greatest riders in the Ardennes classics when he finished second at the Amstel Gold Race. After an injury- and illness-plagued season, he returned to his best when he took another runner-up spot in the 2014 edition of the race after having carried out his pre-race plan to perfection.

 

Jelle Vanendert set a nice performance in the Amstel Gold Race today, he became second. Philippe Gilbert jumped away on the Cauberg and rode solo to the victory. Pim Ligthart obviously felt good in his home country and was part of the early breakaway.
 
After five kilometers eight riders jumped away from the bunch, Pim Ligthart was one of them. Two chasers could bridge the gap and that way a front group of ten was formed.
 
The escapees got a maximal lead of 14’41” on the first ascent of the Cauberg after 54 kilometers. On the Gulpenerberg, when the gap had been reduced to about three and a half minutes and it was about 47 kilometers to go, Nicola Boem attacked. Five riders bridged, among them Ligthart.
 
Two hills further, on the Eyserbosweg, Thomas Voeckler took off from the bunch. Tim Wellens joined him, together with four others. On the same climb Pim Ligthart was dropped in front. Boem, Riblon and Van Hecke stayed ahead.
 
Only Van Avermaet and Fuglsang could close the gap  from the group with Wellens towards the front of the race, this with ten kilometers to go. They joined Riblon and Van Hecke, who had left Boem behind on the Keutenberg. The peloton was not far behind the four leaders and three kilometers further it was over for them.
 
The last ascent of the Cauberg would be decisive. Australian champion Simon Gerrans opened the debates. Philippe Gilbert took over and he arrived solo at the finish, where he won his third Amstel Gold Race. In the last kilometer Jelle Vanendert rode away from the first chase group and finished in a nice second place. Simon Gerrans completed the podium.
 
“The race didn’t start well for me, I crashed after about 40 kilometers," Vanendert said. "I hit my knee and had much pain. That moment I wasn’t sure I would finish the race, it was difficult to get back on track. Eventually I could make a switch. In the last 50 to 60 kilometers I took my place in the front rows of the peloton.
 
"For the team the race went as planned with Pim Ligthart in the front group and Tim Wellens who responded when the strong teams started the final. My brother Dennis took care of me.”
 
“My ideal scenario was that we reached the top of the Cauberg with a small group and that I could take off when the others hesitated. Only Gilbert crossed my plans. I did make the jump when the tempo went down after the Cauberg and I became second just like in 2012.
 
"This confirms my good shape, I’m back where I want to stand. This result isn’t unexpected for me after all the hard work. My season started with a setback due to the elbow injury I incurred in the Tour de San Luis. That’s why I wasn’t at my full strength in Paris-Nice. This second place is a nice reward.
 
"The Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are coming up. The Mur de Huy is very steep and you need to be explosive there. I think others are more cut out for that. La Doyenne suits me more, although I became fourth in the Flèche Wallonne two years ago.”
 
“I really wanted to be part of the long break today, that was also my role within the team," Ligthart said. "The first escape was immediately the right one, that doesn’t often happen. The cooperation between us ten was actually very good, everyone did his share.
 
"Unfortunately the race broke open in front very early – at about 50 kilometers from the finish – and they started to drop riders. I wasn’t good enough and had to let go. If we had stayed together and kept a good pace on the flat, we definitely had a chance. Especially when you see how long Riblon and Van Hecke stayed ahead.
 
"The Amstel Gold Race is one of the most beautiful races of the year. For a Dutchman it’s always fun to ride in front here.”

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