Amstel Gold Race: Marta Cavalli wins with solo Cauberg attack

Italian star attacks out of stellar lead group to stun favorites and secure biggest win of career.

Photo: Getty Images

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Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) kicked out of an all-star lead group on the final climb of the Cauberg to win Amstel Gold Race solo.

The Italian star attacked took advantage of team captain Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig being on the sidelines to take the biggest win of her career with her daring solo attack just 2km from the line.

The podium positions behind were finished in a photo finish sprint. Demi Vollering (SD Worx) edged second place ahead of Liane Lippert (DSM).

Pre-race favorite Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) took fourth.

It was sunny but cold on Sunday morning as the 139-rider strong peloton rolled out of Maastricht for the ninth women’s Amstel Gold Race. Heading north before looping back to the finishing circuit around Valkenburg, the riders had a hilly 128km ahead of them, taking in four ascents of the iconic Cauberg and a total of 19 climbs.

After just 1.8km of neutral zone, the race was on from the flag drop and the pace in the peloton was high, covering 40km in the first hour of racing. An unidentified break of three managed a short-lived and small advantage in the early stages, but it wasn’t until nearly 50km completed that the serious moves began.

Catching the original trio, an attack was launched by Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM), drawing out a 15-second advantage over the Zwartebrugweg climb.

This move sparked a counter-attack from the peloton as the high place and unrelenting climbs split the field, and the duo were joined by a further eight riders: Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), Yara Kastelijn (Plantur-Pura), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Aude Biannic, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and the SD Worx quartet of Marlen Reusser, Demi Vollering, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Niamh Fisher-Black.

At the 70km to go mark, the leading group had a 15-second lead, but the chase was on behind as Team DSM and BikeExchange-Jayco pushed a high pace, having missed the move.

Going into the base of the Keutenberg, the final climb before entering the Valkenburg circuit, the peloton was on the cusp of catching the leaders, but a blistering pace from Annemiek van Vleuten up the climb ripped the group apart once again, with only Vollering and Niewiadoma able to follow the Movistar rider.

The trio had a gap as they crested the top of the climb, but were pursued by a chasing group on the flat, and were soon rejoined by Henderson, Lippert, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) and Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo). The strong and cooperative seven-rider group built a 30-second advantage over the peloton, where UAE Team ADQ was leading the chase.

The leaders remained together over the first ascent of the Cauberg with no one committing to an attack, and had a 32-second advantage on the first crossing of the finish line.

Ane Santesteban (BikeExchange-Jayco) used the Geulhemmerberg to bridge across to the leaders, and it looked briefly like the peloton were happy to yield to the leading group – the gap growing to over a minute – but after a determined chase from UAE Team ADQ, the race came back together in time for the second go up the Cauberg.

Once again, the Cauberg failed to force any significant splits as several attacks were neutralized, but the subsequent Geulhemmerberg saw early aggressor Pauliena Rooijakkers go solo.

Rooijakkers was joined by Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Sierra (Movistar), who rode with a bloodied leg after a spill earlier in the race. The peloton seemed in no rush to chase down the trio of leaders in earnest, but a flurry of attacks off the front meant their gap never grew to more than 30 seconds.

On the penultimate ascent of the Cauberg, Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ) attacked to try to bridge to the leaders, but was reabsorbed into the peloton once SD Worx started to organize the chase. At the 10km mark, the remaining three leaders were caught as the peloton began to up the pace for the finale.

Jumbo-Visma and Cayon-SRAM led the race into the base of the final Cauberg climb, but it was van Vleuten who attempted to string the race out as soon as the road started to rise.

Van Vleuten’s acceleration drew out a group of seven riders – including Vollering, Lippert and Cavalli – who quickly stretched out an advantage over the main group, but it was a well-timed attack from Marta Cavalli that proved to be the winner. At 1.6km to go, the Italian launched a move from the back of the group, gaining a gap that the chasing six riders could not close.

Cavalli crossed the line arms aloft to take her first WorldTour victory, whilst a sprint between the chasers saw Vollering finish second and Lippert third. Despite her best climbing efforts, van Vleuten settled for fourth.

Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition Results

1CAVALLI MartaFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope3:17:41
2VOLLERING DemiTeam SD Worx0:04
3LIPPERT LianeTeam DSM0:04
4VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMovistar Team0:04
5NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon//SRAM Racing0:04
6GARCÍA MaviUAE Team ADQ0:04
7MOOLMAN AshleighTeam SD Worx0:07
8BALSAMO ElisaTrek - Segafredo0:09
9LABECKI CorynTeam Jumbo-Visma0:09
11LABOUS JulietteTeam DSM0:09
12MANLY AlexandraTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:09
13KASTELIJN YaraPlantur-Pura0:11
14MARKUS RiejanneTeam Jumbo-Visma0:11
15MAGNALDI EricaUAE Team ADQ0:11
16VAN ANROOIJ ShirinTrek - Segafredo0:19
17NORSGAARD EmmaMovistar Team0:29
18HOLDEN ElizabethLe Col - Wahoo0:29
19REUSSER MarlenTeam SD Worx0:29
20SMULDERS SilkeLiv Racing Xstra0:29
21BREDEWOLD MischaParkhotel Valkenburg0:29
22BARIL OliviaValcar - Travel & Service0:29
23MACKAIJ FloortjeTeam DSM0:29
24VAS BlankaTeam SD Worx0:29
25GÅSKJENN IngvildTeam Coop - Hitec Products0:29
26BOOGAARD MaaikeUAE Team ADQ0:29
27DOEBEL-HICKOK KristaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB0:29
28EWERS VeronicaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB0:29
29BORGSTRÖM JuliaAG Insurance - NXTG Team0:29
30ARZUFFI Alice MariaValcar - Travel & Service0:29
31VAN DIJK EllenTrek - Segafredo0:29
32KOSTER AnouskaTeam Jumbo-Visma0:29
33PATIÑO PaulaMovistar Team0:29
34PALADIN SorayaCanyon//SRAM Racing0:29
35VAN DE VELDE JuliePlantur-Pura0:29
36MERINO EiderLe Col - Wahoo0:29
37VAN DER HEIJDEN IngePlantur-Pura0:29
38GUILMAN VictorieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:29
39SANTESTEBAN AneTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:29
40SIERRA ArlenisMovistar Team0:33
41GEORGI PfeifferTeam DSM0:48
42SWINKELS KarlijnTeam Jumbo-Visma0:48
43LE NET MarieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:48
44ASENCIO LauraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling0:48
45CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing0:48
46HENDERSON AnnaTeam Jumbo-Visma0:48
47LUDWIG HannahUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:48
48ROOIJAKKERS PaulienaCanyon//SRAM Racing0:48
49MALCOTTI BarbaraHuman Powered Health0:48
50WIEL JadeFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope1:22
51HARVEY MikaylaCanyon//SRAM Racing1:22
52BRAND LucindaTrek - Segafredo1:22
53VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK ChantalTeam SD Worx1:22
54THOMAS LeahTrek - Segafredo1:56
55SPRATT AmandaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco1:56
56FISHER-BLACK NiamhTeam SD Worx2:07
57TON QuintyLiv Racing Xstra4:18
58LACH MartaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling4:18
59PIERGIOVANNI Federica DamianaValcar - Travel & Service4:18
60HAMMES KathrinEF Education-TIBCO-SVB4:18
61DEMEY ValerieLiv Racing Xstra4:18
62GERRITSE FemkeParkhotel Valkenburg4:18
63KIRCHMANN LeahTeam DSM4:18
64ANDERSSON CarolineTeam Coop - Hitec Products4:18
65STANNARD ElizabethValcar - Travel & Service4:20
66CURINIER LéaTeam DSM5:06
67BIANNIC AudeMovistar Team5:06
68FIDANZA AriannaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6:42
69BUIJSMAN NinaHuman Powered Health6:42
70NELSON JosieTeam Coop - Hitec Products6:42
71CROMWELL TiffanyCanyon//SRAM Racing6:42
72POIDEVIN SaraEF Education-TIBCO-SVB6:42
73WILLIAMS GeorgiaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6:42
74BARNES HannahUno-X Pro Cycling Team6:42
75VERHULST GladysLe Col - Wahoo7:00
76NOOIJEN LiekeParkhotel Valkenburg10:45
77SEITZ AlineRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad10:45
78PLUIMERS IlseAG Insurance - NXTG Team10:45
79DIJKSTRA AnnekeGT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling10:45
80PIRRONE ElenaValcar - Travel & Service10:45
81MASETTI GaiaAG Insurance - NXTG Team10:45
82HENGEVELD DaniekGT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling10:45
83BEEKHUIS TeuntjeTeam Jumbo-Visma10:45
84RAAIJMAKERS MaritHuman Powered Health10:45
85COUZENS MilliePlantur-Pura10:45
86GHEKIERE JustinePlantur-Pura10:45
87VIECELI LaraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling10:45
88DANFORD GeorgiaAndy Schleck - CP NVST - Immo Losch10:45
89VAN DER DUIN MaikeLe Col - Wahoo10:45
90VALLIERES MagdeleineEF Education-TIBCO-SVB10:45
91YSLAND Anne DortheUno-X Pro Cycling Team10:45
92VAN ROOIJEN AnneParkhotel Valkenburg10:45
93CRABBÉ KionaPlantur-Pura10:45
94COLBORNE HenriettaGT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling10:45
95WRIGHT SophieUAE Team ADQ10:45
96TACEY AprilLe Col - Wahoo10:45
97TOWERS AliceLe Col - Wahoo10:45
98ARENS MaureenAG Insurance - NXTG Team10:45
99NILSSON HannaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling10:45
100STEIGENGA NicoleTeam Coop - Hitec Products10:45
101ZABELINSKAYA OlgaRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad10:45
102BORGLI StineFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope10:45
103DRONOVA-BALABOLINA TamaraRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad10:45
104LOWDEN JoscelinUno-X Pro Cycling Team10:45
105CLAES LotteBingoal Casino - Chevalmeire - Van Eyck Sport10:45
106STEPHENS LaurenEF Education-TIBCO-SVB10:45
107YONAMINE EriHuman Powered Health10:45
108KULYNYCH OlhaBingoal Casino - Chevalmeire - Van Eyck Sport11:09
109CHRISTIE HenriettaHuman Powered Health11:09
110LIMPENS PienParkhotel Valkenburg11:11
111SWINKELS SylvieTeam Coop - Hitec Products11:49
112CARBONARI AnastasiaValcar - Travel & Service11:49
113WILES TaylerTrek - Segafredo12:07
114VAN HAAFTEN KirstieParkhotel Valkenburg12:07
115MEERTENS LoneAG Insurance - NXTG Team12:07

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.


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