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Martin "makes a mess" of Amstel Gold

Posted 15 April 2012

Dan Martin had a sluggish start to his Ardennes campaign today finishing 75th in the Amstel Gold Race after losing contact with the race favourites on the penultimate climb of the Keutenberg.

The Garmin-Barracuda rider said afterwards that he "made of mess" of the race and that he misread the importance of positioning despite having good legs.

The race was won by Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) who proved the strongest on the famed finishing climb of the Cauberg just ten kilometres later beating Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

The 256 kilometres classic from Maastricht started in wet weather with the peloton content to allow a nine-man break go in the early stages.

Martin’s Garmin-Barracuda teammates Alex Howes and Raymond Kreder were among the escape group who carved out a whopping thirteen minutes lead by the time they completed the first of three passages up the Cauberg after 72 kilometres.

The other members of the group included Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Steven Caethoven (Accent Jobs–Willems Veranda), Pello Bilbao (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Simone Stortoni (Lampre-ISD), Sebastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony), Eliot Leitaer (Topsport Vlaanderen–Mercator) and Cedric Pineau (FDJ–Big Mat).

Bardet and Howes were all that remained of the group by the time the race reached the Kruisberg  after 27 climbs and with 22 kilometres to go the duo clung onto a lead of just 46 seconds over a large chasing group of some seventy riders containing Martin.

Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen attacked the chase group on the run onto the Keuternberg with its number slimming dramatically as the BMC team of Philippe Gilbert took responsibility for neutralising the move.

Martin started to slip on the climb and was midway back by the time he crossed the summit where Bardet had succeeded in finally shelling the dogged Howes to preserve a narrow lead with eleven kilometres to go.

The chase group split into three over the next two kilometres but Martin was missing from the leading thirty riders by the time they brought an end to Bardet’s day long run out front.

 

A gallant attack by Oscar Freire (Katusha) animated the final seven kilometres although the three time world champion was unable to establish enough of a cushion lead to hold out on the decisive climb of the Cauberg.

He was reined in by Gilbert with 400 metres to go where a counter attack by Sagan looked to have it what it took until Gasparotto pulled past the fading Slovakian with precision timing to seal the win in the closing metres.

Results:

Amstel Gold Race, Maastricht – Valkenburg, 256.5 kilometres

1.  Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana 6:32:35  
2.  Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
3.  Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:02  
4.  Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team  
5.  Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
6.  Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
7.  Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
8.  Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:04  
9.  Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

75. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda 2 minutes, 21 seconds

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