Van Aert edges Pidcock to Amstel Gold win in photo-finish

·2-min read
Last year's Amstel Gold Race was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Belgian Wout van Aert pipped Britain's Tom Pidcock to victory at the Amstel Gold Race classic on Sunday after a thrilling photo-finish in the Netherlands.

Jumbo-Vismas' Van Aert, who has three Tour de France stage victories, was awarded the win by centimetres after officials studied television footage following Pidcock's late effort.

"It was really tight. Usually, a long sprint is good for me," Van Aert said.

"I didn't dare to believe, but the race organisers came to see me to tell (me) I had won."

He also claimed revenge for Pidcock's Brabantse Pijl success on Wednesday, when the 21-year-old secured his first triumph for Ineos Grenadiers.

"I left it too late. I should have gone earlier," Pidcock said.

"I thought I was the quickest, it's frustrating to lose by such a margin."

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Maximilian Schachmann was third, two seconds behind after 216 kilometres of the opening Ardennes classic.

With one 16km lap left, Van Aert, Pidcock and Schachmann were among seven riders in front.

Six kilometres later, Van Aert, Pidcock and Schachmann had a lead of 20 seconds over a chasing group led by Mauri Vansevenant.

Racing into the final kilometre near the town of Valkenberg, just to the east of Maastricht, they were left to fight for the win.

Van Aert broke and seemed to be closing in on the race, before Pidcock's late push caused debate about the winner.

But the 26-year-old was given the victory to add to his Gent–Wevelgem win in March.

The second classic in the region, La Fleche Wallone, takes place on Wednesday before the prestigious Liege-Bastogne-Liege four days later.

Results of the Amstel Gold Race:

1. Wout van Aert (BEL/Jumbo), 5 hrs 03 min 27 sec, 2. Tom Pidcock (GBR/INE) same time, 3. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/BOR) at 2sec, 4. Michael Matthews (AUS/BIK) same time, 5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t, 6. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/DEC) s.t, 7. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA/ALP) s.t, 8. Matej Mohoric (SLO/BAH) s.t, 9. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/INE) s.t, 10. Tosh Van der Sande (BEL/LOT) s.t.