Race report

Chad Haga in the break, Tiesj Benoot finishes 15th at Amstel Gold Race

Amstel Gold Race

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The first of the Ardennes Classics took place today at Amstel Gold Race, with laps of a circuit around Valkenburg and taking on the famous climbs of Bemelerberg, Cauberg and Geulhemmerberg. As the race rolled out of the neutralised start a few probing attacks were made before a group of ten riders broke clear with Team DSM’s Chad Haga riding strongly to make the split.

The breakaway worked well together and extended their gap to over five minutes but the peloton kept them on a tight leash and didn’t allow it to grow out any further. As the kilometres ticked by, the gap slowly started to diminish for Haga’s group and heading into the final 40 kilometres they were caught on the Cauberg. The attacks flew from the bunch, but nothing materialised so a reduced peloton entered the closing 25 kilometres together; where Mark Donovan, Kevin Vermaerke and Martijn Tusveld did a good job to position Tiesj Benoot.

On the last ascent of the Cauberg an attack got clear, where the eventual winning trio came from, with Benoot showing good legs to be in the first group behind. A fierce chase then followed but those ahead stayed out to fight for the win, with Benoot getting involved in the sprint for the remaining top ten positions. Unfortunately, he had to brake on the run to the line and ended the day in 15th place for the team.

“It was a really hard and high pace all day long,” explained Benoot at the finish. “The race exploded with around three or four laps to go which was good for me and the guys positioned me well. On the last time up the Cauberg I felt I was not super good so had to let go a little bit but I was in the group behind the three leaders. It was tricky to come back in the end, some teams were pulling hard and it was a big group, and we just didn’t make it. In the sprint I had to brake with around 300 metres to go and lost a little momentum and finished around 15th. I think a top ten was possible for us today, but it was a good result and we’re looking forward to the coming ones.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen added: “At the end it was a hard race but it was controlled for a long time by several teams. We had Chad in the break so we didn’t have to control and help set the pace, which was good. The final started early again at around 70 kilometres to go and from then it was hard. We had an okay race in general and Tiesj got a solid result; it wasn’t enough to win but we’re getting there.” 

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VAN AERT Wout Team Jumbo-Visma 5:03:29 500
2 PIDCOCK Thomas INEOS Grenadiers ,, 400
3 SCHACHMANN Maximilian BORA - hansgrohe ,, 325
15 BENOOT Tiesj Team DSM 0:03 35
73 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM 3:44 -
94 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 6:17 -
116 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
1005 HAGA Chad Team DSM -05:03:29 -
1005 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
1005 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM ,, -