Amstel Gold Race: Tom Pidcock takes victory from four-man group

Ineos Grenadiers rider beats Marc Hirschi and Tiesj Benoot to finally take top step of podium

Clock14:47, Sunday 14th April 2024
Tom Pidcock won the 2024 Amstel Gold Race

© Getty Images

Tom Pidcock won the 2024 Amstel Gold Race

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) won a breathless edition of Amstel Gold Race, winning the sprint from a group of four riders after making several key splits and forging the winning break with 6km to go.

Pidcock edged out Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) and Tiesj Benoot (Visma-Lease a Bike) on the line with Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal Quick-Step) completing the top four.

The quartet couldn’t relax with a late chase coming from behind, and it was Vansevenant who opened up the sprint with around 500m to go. He was quickly dispatched as Benoot and Pidcock came around the Belgian and Hirschi followed Pidcock’s wheel.

The British rider left just enough room on his left for Hirschi to open his sprint but the Ineos Grenadiers rider had enough in the tank to take his first road win since Strade Bianche last year and his team’s fourth win of the road season.

In a thoroughly pulsating race in which Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) failed to repeat his levels from the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the action ebbed and flowed across the 33 climbs that peppered the Amstel Gold course.

Pidcock’s first key move came with 28km to go, when together with Benoot and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious), he latched onto an early move that subsequently swelled to a dozen riders.

On the Keutenberg the break built up a 30-second lead and by the time the race hit the Bemelerberg with 6.6km to go the winning move had split from the remnants of the break and established a 14-second advantage.

Pidcock attacked with 5.5km to go in a bid to whittle down the group after Paul Lapeira (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) had made it across, but the British rider was unable to shake Benoot, Hirschi and a flagging Vansevenant before the final descent towards the finish.

Pidcock famously lost the race in a photo finish three years ago and at the finish on Sunday, he was immediately asked what it meant to win the race for the first time. He paused, before delivering a line almost as dialled in as his sprint.

“I was going to say it's great to win for the second time but that might create some controversy, but it feels really good," he said.

"This year, the start has been so tough with big sacrifices and being away from home so much so to finally put it together and get the hands in the air means a lot. This race, I’ve always loved racing and it’s pretty special.

“I always do a good race here and today the team were fully behind me. Kwiatkowski was going well but he fully committed to me so to repay them was really special. I felt half in control in the sprint. My hand after Paris-Roubaix meant I was struggling to sprint and I had a lot of shoulder pain so I wasn’t that confident but that’s how it ended up.”

How the race unfolded

After the conclusion of the cobbled Classics, the Ardennes came into view on Sunday morning with the doubleheader of the women’s and men’s Amstel Gold Race. The women’s race would be heavily shortened due to a traffic incident ahead of the peloton, while the route detour for the men’s event would be limited to just the omission of the Bergseweg climb.

Read more: Amstel Gold Race: Women’s race neutralised then shortened after incident on route

Tosh Van der Sande (Visma-Lease a Bike), Enzo Leijnse ( dsm-firmenich PostNL), Alexander Hajek (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Zeb Kyffin (TDT-Unibet) made the early break, with the quartet establishing a lead of over four minutes on the main peloton as the remaining early climbs were ticked off.

Van der Poel was forced into a bike change and missed a crash that took down Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) and several other riders but by the time the race hit the Cauberg for the first time with 80km to go, the race had truly come to life. The break’s advantage had been cut to just 48 seconds, while Ineos Grenadiers and Van der Poel’s Alpecin team patrolled the front.

The four-rider break was nullified at the top of the climb, while a crash soon after saw Van der Poel’s teammate, Quinten Hermans, hit the deck but carry on.

Several moves were made from the front of the quickly dwindling peloton but it wasn’t until the 59km to go to mark that a group formed with more than a handful of seconds, with Mikkel Honoré (EF Education-EasyPost), Louis Vervaeke (Soudal Quick-Step) and Paul Lapeira surging clear by 21 seconds.

Several climbs followed with the pattern of the race remaining the same but Van der Poel was quickly running out of teammates as the peloton thinned down to less than 45 riders. With 36km to go, and the race on the Eyserbosweg, Vervaeke was dropped from the lead group as Richard Carapaz accelerated from the peloton with Van der Poel glued to his wheel.

A kilometre later, Hirschi attacked with Bauke Mollema (Lidl-Trek), Roger Adrià (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Valentin Madouas (Groupama) joining the Swiss champion as they linked up with the two survivors from the earlier break.

Vansevenant, Bilbao, Benoot, Pidcock made contact with the front group on the Keutenberg and with 21km to go the leaders had a 51-second advantage over the remnants of the main field.

On the next loop of the Cauberg the race was split but with several groups within a minute of each other as Hirschi attempted to drop several passengers from the front group. On the descent Bilbao moved clear but it was Pidcock who reacted first and jumped onto the Bahrain rider’s wheel, and with 13.5km to go Hirschi finally managed to drag an elite group with him as Pidcock, Benoot and then Vansevenant made it across.

Lapeira briefly made it five leaders but Pidcock’s next attack cut the group to four once more and at the line, the British rider had enough to hold Hirschi at bay and take a win that he and Ineos hope can kickstart their road season.

Visit our Racing page for more reports, results and news from the biggest men's and women's race.

Race Results

1

gb flag

PIDCOCK Tom

INEOS Grenadiers

5H 58' 17"

2

ch flag

HIRSCHI Marc

UAE Team Emirates

"

3

be flag

BENOOT Tiesj

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

"

4

be flag

VANSEVENANT Mauri

Soudal Quick-Step

"

5

fr flag

LAPEIRA Paul

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team

"

6

fr flag

MADOUAS Valentin

Groupama-FDJ

"

7

nl flag

MOLLEMA Bauke

Lidl-Trek

"

8

fr flag

PACHER Quentin

Groupama-FDJ

"

9

es flag

BILBAO Pello

Bahrain Victorious

"

10

au flag

MATTHEWS Michael

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 11"

Provided by FirstCycling

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