Enrico Gasparotto surprised with his Amstel Gold Race win today in Holland. It was not since his Italian title in 2005 that he ruled a one-day race.
“I’ve always liked the Amstel Gold Race,” he said after sipping an Amstel Beer. “It’s thanks to the podium place I got in 2010 and because on these streets – in the various races like the Ster Elektrotoer Tour and the Eneco Tour – I’ve always done well.”
The Italian of team Astana placed third two years ago behind Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda). Today he shot ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).
Gasparotto marked Gilbert from the Keutenberg climb to the final climb to the finish line on the Cauberg. He used the two-time race winner to catch late-race attacker, Oscar Freire (Katusha).
He said, “I took advantage of my outsider status.”
“I tried to win, I almost did. All I needed was another 100 metres,” explained Freire. “I had really good race, though.”
“He was just missing a little bit at the line,” BMC’s team manager, Jim Ochowicz said of Gilbert. “He’s coming close.”
Gilbert had his best place of the year so far in Amstel: sixth. It follows 12th on Wednesday in Brabantse Pijl. He paid, however, from his effort to catch Freire.
“I had to go early though because Freire was in front,” he told media at the team’s bus. “I had the impression that no one else would do it, they were looking at me. I did it, but at 300m from the finish my legs exploded and I understood it was over.”
Gasparotto continued to speak and drink back in a tent erected for the press on the top of Cauberg. The cold northerly wind blew and the rain sprinkled, but he was happy with himself.
“I’ve always believed in myself,” he said. “I knew one day that it could be the perfect day to win Amstel Gold. I’ve always felt that Amstel was one for me.”