Tom Pidcock Finally Wins Amstel Gold Race Sprint After Previous Near-Miss

The 58th edition of the Amstel Gold Race saw Tom Pidcock of INEOS Grenadiers outpace his breakaway companions Marc Hirschi and Tiesj Benoot in a gripping finale sprint, securing a redemptive victory. Top favourite Mathieu van der Poel was unable to play a significant role in the race’s outcome.

The renowned Dutch race attracted a stellar lineup, including defending champions like Tadej Pogacar, Wout van Aert, and van der Poel himself. Despite high expectations, van der Poel found himself overshadowed by formidable competitors such as Pidcock, Ben Healy, Benoît Cosnefroy, Mattias Skjelmose, and Matteo Jorgenson.

Following the race’s start in Maastricht, the route wound through northern Sittard before tackling the signature climbs of South Limburg, including the Eyserberg, Keutenberg, Cauberg, Geulhemmerberg, and Bemelerberg. These climbs set the stage for the dramatic twists and turns that define this prestigious 253.6-kilometre race, featuring over thirty climbs.

Early race dynamics were marked by a high-spirited breakaway that eventually included Tosh Van der Sande, Enzo Leijnse, Alexander Hajek, and Zeb Kyffin. An accident involving a police officer during the women’s race led to a slight course alteration, omitting the Bergseweg and rerouting towards the Korenweg, although this did little to deter the breakaway’s progress.

As the race heated up, the early breakaway was caught after the Geulhemmerberg, about 70 kilometres from the finish. The peloton witnessed multiple attacks, but none significant enough to break the elastic. The strategic hills of Keerderberg and Bemelerberg saw more aggressive racing, with Louis Vervaeke of Soudal Quick-Step notably active.

A critical move formed on the Gulperberg, where Vervaeke, Mikkel Honoré of EF Education-EasyPost, and Paul Lapeira of Decathlon AG2R momentarily distanced themselves, though they were closely marked by the peloton. World champion van der Poel tested his legs on this climb but did not fully commit, leaving the race open for further attacks.

As the race approached its final phase, the pace intensified. Alpecin-Deceuninck took charge in the peloton, setting up a showdown on the crucial climbs of Kruisberg and Eyserbosweg. Despite a flurry of attacks, including a notable move by Richard Carapaz, the race remained tightly contested.

A decisive moment came before the Keutenberg, where Benoot and Pidcock bridged to a leading group that included Mollema, Mauri Vansevenant, Madouas, and Hirschi, while van der Poel found himself isolated and unable to respond. This set the stage for the final showdown, where strategic placement and teamwork played crucial roles.

Pidcock, Hirschi, Benoot, and Vansevenant emerged as the strongest in the final kilometres, ultimately detaching on the Geulhemmerberg. The race concluded with a sprint among these four, where Pidcock’s superior speed clinched him the victory. Mollema finished as the top Dutch rider in seventh place, with van der Poel outside the top ten.

Pidcock, reflecting on his victory, acknowledged the tactical nature of the race and the significant efforts of his teammates, particularly Michał Kwiatkowski, who sacrificed his own chances to support Pidcock. The British rider also noted the challenges of racing with recent injuries but was pleased to finally secure a clear-cut victory in the Amstel Gold Race, a race he deeply cherishes.

2024 Amstel Gold Race Men result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos