Amstel Gold Race: Johann van Zyl the aggressor, Kristian Sbaragli 20th


The Amstel Gold Race would see the victory go to the World Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep). Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had much to smile about as well as Johann van Zyl would animate the race by forming part of the 6 man break of the day.

The ever dependable ‘VanSnail’ would find himself in the move along with Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Timo Roosen (Lotto-Jumbo), Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy) and Mike Terpstra (Roompot) from the 25km marker. Johann and his compatriots worked well to establish a lead of just on 11 minutes at one point.

BMC Racing would take control of the peloton though as they lined-up with 3 time winner, Philppe Gilbert. The BMC team would slowly whittle down the lead until with 50km to go, the pace was full gas in the peloton. The 6 leaders would soon split and then get absorbed into the peloton. An ominous move of 5 riders that included the likes of Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) would be just under a minute clear with 27km to go.

Movistar put in a concerted chase to reel this last dangerous move back in while our Serge Pauwels was also see to be offering his services in the chase. Kristian Sbaragli was showing good signs in the now smaller 40 rider peloton and it was all systems go for the young Italian.

The final time up the Cauberg saw an explosive attack by Gilbert which resulted in a group of 18 riders just going clear over the top. Unfortunately Kristian just missed this group but would cross the finish line in 20th position. Alejandro Valverde secured 2nd place with Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge) in 3rd.

Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
The legs were good today but I just missed the first group that went on the Cauberg by a handful of seconds. I am happy with how I felt though and the team were great in helping me today. While I am happy with my performance I want to come back to this race and fight for the victory.

Johann van Zyl – Rider
My goal for the day was to get into the break. It took a bit longer for the break to go than usual, I think I followed at least 15 attacks before the break got away. Once we were away I was happy to be in front and obviously to achieve the goal that I set myself for the day. My next goal was to try and win the most aggressive trophy but in the final there were three guys who were just a bit stronger than I was. In general though I think the team raced well, Kristian also got a top 20 so it was a good day in the office.

Michel Cornelisse – Sport Director  
I think we saw a very good Serge, a good Kristian and also Jacques was very good today but in the last 30kms he was a bit spent but he gave everything. We did a good race in the front and that is what we want, we want our colours to be seen. We have missed that in March and the start of April but today was better. I am more positive after today’s performance than I have been the last months. Kristian was also top 20 for us so it was a good race.

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