Enrico Gasparotto Wins Amstel Gold

Last updated : 15 April 2012 By Kev Monks

Astana's Enrico Gasparotto won the Amstel Gold classic in Holland today.

The latest Ardennes classic race in its 46th year, was a 260.4km race from Maastrict to Valkenburg in the Limburg region and features 31 climbs.

A strong field which featured Tour De France winner Cadel Evans and last year's winner Phillippe Gilbert, saw Bardet, Bilbao, Pineau, Raymond Kreder, Howes, Stortoni, Caethoven, Delfosse and Lietar get an early break. With 200kms to go, they were 5.45 clear but as they reached the half way point, they were over twelve minutes ahead.

Andy Schleck was at the front of the peloton trying to bring them back and that  lead was soon halved when the riders tackled the Cauberg climb. Whilst Schleck was doing his bit at the front, there were riders throwing punches after a row over where to have a toilet stop broke out.

There was a crash with 55kms to go with Lotto's Jurgen Van Den Broeck hitting the deck. He was soon back up and riding again but Matty Breschal had had enough and retired from the race.

The peloton was strung out as cracks appeared in the front runners with only four of the nine in Bardet, Bilbao, Howes and Stortoni on the attack.

The gap was coming down all the time and with 20kms to go, BMC were at the front of the peloton, chasing down the escaperswho were 29 seconds ahead.

Adam Howes (Garmin) and Roman Bardet (AG2R) but with nine kilometres to go and the likes of Ireland's Danny Martin suffering, it was all over.

Oscar Freire went with seven kilometres to go from a finish on the 1200m Cauberg.

Under the Flam Rouge, Friere was in front with Nicky Terpstra following before he was caughtt. There was a crash taking down two riders in Cunego and Lars Nordhaug as Enrico Gasparotto took a sprint of three riders to win ahead of Jelle Vanendert and Peter Sagan.

On Wednesday, we move onto the Fleche Walloone before the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday.