Schumacher Wins Amstel Gold Race
Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) has won the Amstel Gold Race. With three km left, the German powered away from six companions to take the rugged, 252.2-km Dutch classic in 6:11:49. Davide Rebellin, Schumacher?s teammate, finished second at 0:21, and Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) took third a second later.
Warm (70 degrees Fahrenheit), sunny, windy conditions greeted the riders at the start in
When the gap between bunch and break dropped to about 1:30, Jens Voigt (CSC), Daniele Righi (Lampre), Rooyakkers, and Steffen Wesemann (Wiesenhof) attacked from the peloton. The quartet caught and dropped the leaders. In the peloton, Caisse d?Epargne, Gerolsteiner, and T-Mobile began to chase.
With 50 km remaining, defending champion Frank Schleck (CSC) crashed. With Voigt driving the break, Schleck appeared out of the running. He fought his way back to the peloton. however.
With 35 km, a series of attacks began. Carlo Barredo (Quick Step) bridged up to the leaders, but the combustion animated the peloton, which shelled riders left, right, and center. What remained of the bunch caught the leaders with 22 km left.
Not long after the capture, Schumacher attacked on the Eyserbosweg. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step), Matthias Kessler (Astana), Rebellin, and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) joined him. With 16 km to go, Di Luca, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne), and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) bridged up to the leaders. This move had the horsepower to be the winning one.
And so it was. Di Luca drove the break on the Keutenberg in the hope of dropping one of the three Gerolsteiner men in the move. Valverde struggled. With six km left, the break led the chase group by almost 1:00.
With three km left, Schumacher attacked on the Cauberg. He took 0:10 out of his companions before Kessler began chasing with 700 m left. Boogerd attempted to catch the two Germans, but Rebellin and Di Luca overtook the Dutchman and Kessler to snare the last two spots on the podium.
Later in the week, many of today?s riders will meet again in the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. How will they fare? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!