Astana Cycling Team (Netherlands) – After impressive teamwork during the day, from closing the gap with the breakaway to Jakob Fuglsang attacking in the final, it was Michael Valgren who finished it off with his second win of the season.
"It was a hard start and then the breakaway got a really big gap, but we had Laurens de Vreese in the front to close this gap, he did a great job. The other riders kept me out of trouble, it was perfect teamwork during the whole day. In the final Jakob Fuglsang worked hard for me, he made all the other riders tired and after that I could attack and I’m happy that I could finish it like this", told Michael Valgren.
The final of the Amstel Gold Race changed this year with an extra lap to give a chance for attacks, and with this in mind the peloton took off from Maastricht for the only Dutch classic race of the season. In the 260-km-long race a breakaway group of nine riders was able to create a gap of maximum 16 minutes. But with Laurens de Vreese and other teams pulling in the front of the peloton, the gap was back to less than one minute before the final started.
In this final, Michael Valgren and Jakob Fuglsang made it into the leading group after the Cauberg. After several attacks of Fuglsang, Valgren took his chance and attacked going into the final 2 kilometers. He took Roman Kreuziger with him, but with a strong sprint to the finish line he left him and Enrico Gasparatto behind, securing victory at the 2018 Amstel Gold Race.
"It was a good race. I was a little excited to see how I was after a month without racing. But I was really happy with my feeling today. We ended up in the perfect position, together with Michael Valgren, to race for the victory and it’s great that we could finish it like this. I’m happy that I can be part of this victory, and I’m happy for Michael that he won after his second place of a few years ago", told Jakob Fuglsang.
Photo credit: Bettiniphoto.