Czech Roman Kreuziger made a solo break for home to win the Amstel Gold race on Sunday after 251.8km from Maastricht to Valkenburg. The Saxo rider broke clear on the final climb from a group of escapees and then held off the chasing pack to win by 20 seconds. Spaniard Alessandro Valverde won a sprint finish for second with Australian Simon Gerrans taking third.
It was the first time the 26-year-old Kreuziger, a former winner of theyoung rider jerseys at both the Tour de France and Tour of Italy, has won a Classic. Having joined Saxo from Astana, Kreuziger knows that he has to take his chances when they come as he will be riding for Alberto Contador on other occasions.
“It’s the week of my first big objectives so of course it gives me confidence,” said Kreuziger. “Those who asked questions were the journalists but I knew I could win. “I remain a rider for the big tours but the Ardennes classics, with their long, tough courses, suit the big tour riders. I’ve joined Contador’s team but it’s not inconvenient to be at his service. There are possibilities and I will get my chance. I’m still young enough to have a future ahead of me.”
He broke clear with seven kilometers to ride and never looked back. At the foot of the final ascent of the short but punishing Cauberg climb, three kilometres from the end, he had a 30-second lead over the peloton. World champion Philippe Gilbert attacked out of the group to try to hunt down Kreuziger but he never got close and once over the top of the Cauberg he was chased down by the pack.