Enrico Gasparotto wins Amstel Gold Race ahead of Michael Valgren
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 17/04/16 6:47pm
Italy’s Enrico Gasparotto won the Amstel Gold Race for the second time on Sunday after beating Denmark’s Michael Valgren in a two-man sprint.
Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked out of a thinned-down peloton on the day's final climb, with 2.4km to go, and was joined 400m later by Valgren (Tinkoff), who had been the only rider to set off in pursuit.
Valgren opted to lead out the sprint to the finish line and had no answer when Gasparotto came flying past with 150m left.
Gasparotto, 34, repeated his 2012 victory and also handed Wanty-Groupe Gobert a much-needed lift three weeks after the death of their Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie at Gent-Wevelgem.
He said: "Yesterday, Antoine's wife came to see us at the hotel and said, 'Guys, go for it'. It was not easy; it is not easy. I am 34 years old; I have a wife. Every day we think about it. Antoine's death is so fresh."
Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) won the sprint for third place to compound a disappointing day for the pre-race favourites.
Ardennes classics preview
Everything you need to know about the Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege
Three-time winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) and defending champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) were both dropped from the peloton before the final climb, the iconic Cauberg, while Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) could only sprint to fifth.
The Amstel Gold Race was the first of the three Ardennes classics, which continue on Wednesday with La Fleche Wallonne and then conclude next Sunday with Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, 6:18:02
2 Michel Valgren (Den) Tinkoff, same time
3 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, st
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie, st
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st