Albasini takes third at Amstel

Sun 16 Apr 2017

2017 Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage winner Michael Albasini has sprinted to a strong third place at Amstel Gold Race today. 

The result gives ORICA-SCOTT two podiums on the opening weekend of the Ardennes after Annemiek van Vleuten also took third in the women’s race earlier in the afternoon. 

Albasini reacted instinctively to a strong move of eight that went with just under 40km to go.

Philippe Gilbert (QST) and Michal Kwiatowski (SKY) escaped from the lead group in the latter stages of racing to finish first and second respectively, whilst Albasini won the sprint for third.

“It was fast but steady for the first part of the race so we knew it was going to kick off at some point,” Albasini explained. 

“My role was to jump with some of the key guys and once I saw (Sergio) Henao and Gilbert go, I reacted straight away.

“I didn’t think that we could stay away but in the end it was strong group and we kept riding all the time so we kept away.

“At the end, I had nothing left. Those two guys just had a little bit more left in the legs so they rode away and the rest of us were actually pretty cooked.”

Whilst it wasn’t a win, the result gives Albasini podium results at all three Ardennes – Amstel, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

“Cooked or not cooked a podium at Amstel is really good,” the 36-year-old said. “Actually now I have podiumed on all three Ardennes so I am really happy with that.” 

“We didn’t have any of the big favourites for the race today but we have pulled off a podium so that’s really good for us.”

How it happened: 

Riders set off in dim but dry conditions for the opening Ardennes Classic in Holland.

An early breakaway of 12 riders rode away and gained a maximum advantage of around eight minutes before the peloton started to peg them back. 

With 75km to go BMC Racing Team put on the pressure in the bunch and their advantage dropped swiftly to be within a minute 10km later. 

The bunch was completely back together at 40km to go before the eventual winning move of eight made their move.

The group, containing Albasini, worked well together and despite only holding an advantage of less than a minute, managed to stay away. 

In the last 10km Gilbert and Kwiatowski attacked, those remaining from the lead group were left to fight it out for third.