'All or nothing' — how Marta Cavalli won the Amstel Gold Race

Italian FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope rider wins her first Women's WorldTour race

Marta Cavalli
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marta Cavalli said she attacked over the top of the Cauberg, the winning move of the Amstel Gold Race, because she had "nothing to lose".

The Italian won her first Women's WorldTour race in Valkenburg on Sunday, attacking a group of eight women which had emerged at the top of the Cauberg, and then riding solo for the final 1.8km to win by the narrowest of margins.

Speaking shortly after her triumph, the FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope rider said it was an "incredible feeling" to win the Dutch Classic, and that she had planned to attack at that moment during her recon ride.

"It’s an incredible feeling, I can’t believe it," she said. "I have to thank my sport director in the car because in the last 50km I had a really nice feeling. I felt a bit tired, when we arrived at the top of Cauberg last time we were 8/9 riders, he pushed me on the radio. 

"Try, and I had nothing to lose. We started the season with the motto all or nothing. I tried, and after 500m when I turned my head I saw a big gap, and kept pushing to the finish line."

Cavalli launched her decisive attack from the back of the leading group, while the SD Worx duo of Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Demi Vollering were be leant on to ride hard.

The Italian had the advantage of not being one of the out-and-out favourites for the race, and so therefore was not as watched as the SD Worx riders, or Annemiek van Vleuten of Movistar. She timed her Cauberg attack perfectly, and managed to hold off the chasers in the final, winning by just four seconds ahead of Vollering.

"Yesterday we did a recon and we spoke about this moment, when you’re in the back and they slow down at the front," Cavalli explained. "This is the key moment.... It’s incredible."

After admitting it was the biggest moment of the career, she spoke about the most difficult part of the race being the battle to be in the right position heading into the final ascent of the Cauberg.

"The hardest thing was to take the corner just before Cauberg in front," she said. "There was a big fight.. [like a] washing machine at the front of the bunch, it was really dangerous. After a lot of crashes in the downhill I’m still a bit afraid at this kind of moment, but I was relaxed when I took the Cauberg in the front and safe."

Despite her aggressive racing, Cavalli was wearing arm and leg warmers, with toe covers on as well. The Italian clearly isn't suited to the cold of northern Europe in April.

"Last year in this race I took a lot of cold, and I wanted to avoid this bad feeling," she said. "I prefer staying warm."

Attacking hard is definitely one way of keeping warm.

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