The Pole in the rainbow stripes looked to be out of contention as he struggled to keep up with the attack of Matthews and Philippe Gilbert on the final ascent of the Cauberg, but found extra reserves in the final bunch sprint.
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Matthews sat on Gilbert’s wheel as the Belgian made his trademark attack on the route’s final climb, but a small group made it back to the pair, with Kwiatkowski the strongest in the run in to the finish line.
Earlier in the day the breakaway was allowed a six-minute gap with 90km to race, but was reeled in with 37km left. At that point Australian duo David Tanner (IAM Cycling) and Simon Clarke (Orica) pushed off the front, with a group including Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Tony Martin (Etixx) giving chase.
Nibali and Martin bridged the gap to the front but a lack of cohesion led to the group being absorbed back into the peloton with 15km to go. Clarke, however, had one more go off the front and gained a lead of around 20 seconds, but was caught 7km later.
Gilbert’s teammate Ben Hermans attacked up the Cauberg before the defending champion made his move. Matthews followed on Gilbert’s wheel as Kwiatkowski looked to be suffering, but the Pole regained his composure to take the resulting sprint
Amstel Gold Race (258km)
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx-Quick-Step 6:31:49
2. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar s.t.
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge s.t.
4. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida s.t.
5. Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC s.t.
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal s.t.
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick-Step) s.t.
8. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Roompot s.t.
9. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi s.t.
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC s.t.