For much of the final 30 kilometres of Amstel Gold Race, there looked to be only one outcome in Berg en Terblijt. With Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), the finale was reminiscent of Strade Bianche, where the duo rode together for the last 20km before the Frenchman triumphed in Siena.
While the script bore a resemblance to that of the Italian classic heading to the finish, it was torn up in extraordinary fashion in the closing kilometres. With Alaphilippe thought to have a better sprint, Fuglsang sat back as the duo neared the line.
The result was a fatal slowing of the pace which let the chasing groups led by Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) make the catch in the final kilometre. Naturally, both Fuglsang and Alaphilippe had differing opinions on what went down.
“I told him when we went that he had to pull, and that this time I should win instead of him,” Fuglsang joked to Eurosport after the finish. “But it didn’t work out. He didn’t agree and we ended up in third and fourth.”
It was another fine result for the Dane, who continued his impressive vein of form to start the season. After winning the Vuelta a Andalucía, taking a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, and finishing second at Strade Bianche, the podium at Amstel Gold Race is another outstanding result.
But missing out on a possible victory inevitably brings disappointment, both in the result and how he got there.
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