Amstel Gold Race 2009 photo gallery, by Graham Watson>>
Sergei Ivanov of the Katusha team has taken a solo win in the Amstel Gold Race, outclassing two Dutch riders, Karsten Kroon (SaxoBank) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), in the Netherlands' biggest Classic.
The three riders finished just a handful of seconds ahead of the main peloton after breaking away with around 12 kilometres to go.
Promising young professional Gesink clipped off the front following a huge acceleration by SaxoBank?s Andy Schleck, and then Kroon and Ivanov, who finished second in Amstel in 2002, got across.
Gesink ran out of gas at the foot of the Cauberg, the race?s final climb and then Ivanov outpowered Kroon for the biggest victory of his career, and Russia?s first ever win in the Amstel Gold.
As usual in Amstel, crashes played an important part in the racing. Worse affected were 2006 winner Frank Schleck (SaxoBank) and Matt Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), both of whom left the race in an ambulance. Schleck suffered head injuries but is reported to be in a stable condition.
Britain?s Daniel Lloyd did not take part, although Ben Swift (Katusha) was a late addition to the race line-up. Lloyd went down with a bad fever on Saturday night and was unable to start.
?I?m very disappointed, it was a big target for me,? Lloyd told Cycling Weekly earlier on Sunday. He has not yet made a decision about his next races, Fleche and Liege.
As for the winner, apart from winning Amstel, one of Ivanov's previous big claims to fame came about in 1998 when he was part of the TVM team in the Tour de France.
On one stage, to Aix-les-Bains, the riders went on strike because of the police raids on the race and go-slowed throughout the day. TVM then came to the front of the bunch at the finish and Ivanov was allowed to be first across the line.
Three years later, Ivanov won another Tour stage, curiously enough, also into Aix-les-Bains. On that occasion, though, it was from a break of three - just like in Amstel Gold in 2009.
Amstel Gold Race 2009: Results
1. Sergei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha in 6-38-31
2. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 8secs
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto
5. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre
6. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r
7. Nicolas Roche (Ire) Ag2r
8. Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank
9. Christian Pfannberger (Aut) Katusha
10. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank all same time.
56. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at 4-30
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