Amstel Gold Race: Michał Kwiatkowski edges Benoît Cosnefroy in photo finish

Polish star takes his second Amstel title from two-up sprint after lighting up the race at 20km to go.

Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

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Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) edged Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citroën) in a photo finish at Amstel Gold Race.

Kwiatkowski won his second Amstel title by a tire-width after outsprinting breakaway companion Cosnefroy in a finish echoing the fine-margin sprint of 2021.

Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) was first of the chasers across the line to claim third.

Pre-race favorite Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) finished fourth after looking a percentage point off his Flanders-crushing best.

The victory was the second of Kwiatkowski’s illustrious career after he previously won in 2015, and was due reward for an aggressive ride by his whole Ineos Grenadiers team.

Much like so many of the other classics this spring, the Brit crew piled on the pressure in the final hour of racing with Ben Turner and worked the two-up dynamic between Kwiatkowski and Tom Pidcock to put options into play for all scenarios.

Kwiatkowski seized the advantage at 20km to go with a solo attack out of a powerful group including van der Poel and Pidcock, and only Cosnefroy took the initiative to solo across.

The chasers malfunctioned behind, setting up the dramatic 200-meter dragstrip sprint in Valkenberg which Kwiatkowski won with his bike-throw.

“Cosnefroy did most of the work in the breakaway, because with Tom (Pidcock) behind me, I didn’t have to make the difference,” Kwiatkowski told Sporza.

“The sprint was very tough. I was very confident that I could win, but Cosnefroy kept accelerating. I knew from last year’s finish with Tom that you have to wait a bit after the finish to find out the result. It is unbelievable that it is happening again.”

Kwiatkowski was one of the stars of the hilly classics in the middle of last decade after winning Amstel, road worlds, Milan-Sanremo and twice Strade Bianche.

The 31-year-old had a tricky start to the season and is hoping for more of the upward trajectory as he closes down on the Ardennes.

“I’ve had corona, the flu too … My entire program was turned upside down. And now I win the Amstel,” he said. “I knew that victory would come.”

Ineos Grenadiers started to take control at around 35km to go, lighting the fuse on the Keutenberg climb.

Kwiatkowski and then Benoot threw separate haymakers to stretch the group, and van der Poel briefly looked in trouble before bridging back to the bunch of 10 top talents that went on to compete for the win.

The leaders took a 25-second advantage over a chase group into the final of repeat ascents of the Cauberg at 24km to go.

Marc Hirschi (UAE) accelerated first before Ineos duo Kwiatkowski and Pidcock lit things up over the summit.

Kwiatkowski took advantage of a cagey dynamic in the group to ride off the front at 20km to go and dashed up the road. The rest didn’t coordinate in a chase before Cosnefroy darted across to the charging polish rider.

Pidcock briefly surged in a half-attempt to go across before dropping into the group and playing the team game for Kwiatkowski.

TT engines Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Stefan Küng (Groupama FDJ) were forced into much of the chasing and van der Poel, seemingly a touch from top-form, followed the wheels.

Cosnefroy and Kwiatkowski took around 30 seconds of a lead into the final climb of the day, the short, shallow Bemelerberg.

The chase group continued to malfunction as some sat on for a sprint and others didn’t want to fully commit to chasing.

Asgreen was most active out of the group and almost went clear, but van der Poel finally lit things up at just 1700 meters to go as the leaders closed in on the finish.

The group countered van der Poel first time, and the Dutchman continued hammering to no effect.

Kwiatkowski sat on his French rival through the majority of the final, taking advantage of having his teammate in the group behind.

Cosnefroy led the pair into the final 500m as the chasers closed in, just 10 seconds back.

Kwiatkowski sat poised on the wheel before Cosnefroy was forced to open the sprint at around 200m to go. Kwiatkowski drew level and the two engaged in a long, grinding drag-strip sprint.

Cosnefroy was initially awarded the victory and he started celebrating with teammates.

However, just seconds later the result of the photo finish came through and the Frenchman discovered he had been just centimeters from the biggest win of his career.

“Based on the finish photo, there is no discussion,” Cosnefroy said. “But they should have waited [to confirm the result] for that photo.”

“I don’t really understand why they’ve been so fast,” he continued. “This is a blatant mistake, because the photo finish clearly shows that Kwiatkowski was the first to cross the finish line. Now I have to make peace with this. “

Benoot escaped the chase group in the final 500m to take third, a few seconds in front of the rest of the leaders.

Amstel Gold Race Results

1KWIATKOWSKI MichałINEOS Grenadiers6:01:19
2COSNEFROY BenoîtAG2R Citroën Team0:00
3BENOOT TiesjJumbo-Visma0:10
4VAN DER POEL MathieuAlpecin-Fenix0:20
5KAMP AlexanderTrek - Segafredo0:20
6ASGREEN KasperQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team0:20
7MATTHEWS MichaelTeam BikeExchange - Jayco0:20
8KÜNG StefanGroupama - FDJ0:20
9HIRSCHI MarcUAE Team Emirates0:20
10TEUNS DylanBahrain - Victorious0:20
11PIDCOCK ThomasINEOS Grenadiers0:20
12TRATNIK JanBahrain - Victorious0:29
13MOHORIČ MatejBahrain - Victorious1:42
14MADOUAS ValentinGroupama - FDJ1:43
15VALGREN MichaelEF Education-EasyPost1:43
16FUGLSANG JakobIsrael - Premier Tech1:43
17TRENTIN MatteoUAE Team Emirates1:50
18PACHER QuentinGroupama - FDJ1:50
19ARANBURU AlexMovistar Team1:50
20WELLENS TimLotto Soudal1:50
21BARGUIL WarrenTeam Arkéa Samsic1:50
22VAN BAARLE DylanINEOS Grenadiers1:50
23VAN GILS MaximLotto Soudal2:29
24VAN AVERMAET GregAG2R Citroën Team2:29
25ŠTYBAR ZdeněkQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team2:29
26CALMEJANE LilianAG2R Citroën Team2:29
27PASQUALON AndreaIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:29
28SKUJIŅŠ TomsTrek - Segafredo2:29
30DUMOULIN TomJumbo-Visma2:29
31HAIG JackBahrain - Victorious2:29
32SÉNÉCHAL FlorianQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team4:25
33LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ4:31
34GODON DorianAG2R Citroën Team4:31
35SBARAGLI KristianAlpecin-Fenix4:31
36BAKELANTS JanIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux4:31
37VAN POUCKE AaronSport Vlaanderen - Baloise6:26
38BAGIOLI AndreaQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team6:26
39VAN HOOYDONCK NathanJumbo-Visma6:26
40MAAS JanTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6:26
41JACOBS JohanMovistar Team6:26
42BONNAMOUR FranckB&B Hotels - KTM6:29
43GENIETS KevinGroupama - FDJ6:29
44STEIMLE JannikQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team7:25
45TEUNISSEN MikeJumbo-Visma7:25
46VAN ROOY KennethSport Vlaanderen - Baloise7:25
47DEGENKOLB JohnTeam DSM7:25
48KANTER MaxMovistar Team7:25
49THEUNS EdwardTrek - Segafredo7:25
50KOCH JonasBORA - hansgrohe7:25
51THOMAS BenjaminCofidis7:25
53DUJARDIN SandyTotalEnergies7:25
54DEVRIENDT TomIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux7:25
55VAN TRICHT StanQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team7:25
56RIABUSHENKO AlexandrAstana Qazaqstan Team7:25
57MOLLY KennyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB7:25
58GILBERT PhilippeLotto Soudal7:25
59GARCÍA CORTINA IvánMovistar Team7:25
60VAN GESTEL DriesTotalEnergies7:25
61DEWULF StanAG2R Citroën Team7:25
62BERCKMOES JennoSport Vlaanderen - Baloise7:25
63ELOSEGUI IñigoMovistar Team7:25
64WARBASSE LarryAG2R Citroën Team7:25
65ROOSEN TimoJumbo-Visma7:25
66MERTENS JulianSport Vlaanderen - Baloise7:25
67KORETZKY VictorB&B Hotels - KTM7:25
68MERTZ RémyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB7:25
69FERASSE ThibaultB&B Hotels - KTM7:25
70GONZÁLEZ AbnerMovistar Team7:25
71CHEREL MikaëlAG2R Citroën Team7:25
72NEILANDS KristsIsrael - Premier Tech7:25
73IMPEY DarylIsrael - Premier Tech7:25
74DE GENDT AiméIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux7:25
75ANACONA WinnerTeam Arkéa Samsic7:25
76LIENHARD FabianGroupama - FDJ7:25
77OLDANI StefanoAlpecin-Fenix7:25
78UIJTDEBROEKS CianBORA - hansgrohe7:25
79OWSIAN ŁukaszTeam Arkéa Samsic7:25
80VERMEERSCH GianniAlpecin-Fenix7:25
81LIVYNS ArjenBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB7:25
82DURBRIDGE LukeTeam BikeExchange - Jayco7:25
83KRON AndreasLotto Soudal7:25
84WRIGHT FredBahrain - Victorious7:25
85DELETTRE AlexandreCofidis7:25
86ARMÉE SanderCofidis7:25
87SIMON JulienTotalEnergies7:25
88MEZGEC LukaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco7:25
89TURNER BenINEOS Grenadiers7:25
90SWIFT ConnorTeam Arkéa Samsic7:25
91VERGAERDE OttoTrek - Segafredo7:25
92ALEOTTI GiovanniBORA - hansgrohe7:25
93DOULL OwainEF Education-EasyPost7:25
94LANGEVELD SebastianEF Education-EasyPost7:25
95BETTIOL AlbertoEF Education-EasyPost7:25
96GUGLIELMI SimonTeam Arkéa Samsic7:25
97TERPSTRA NikiTotalEnergies7:25
98BARONCINI FilippoTrek - Segafredo10:56
99LIEPIŅŠ EmīlsTrek - Segafredo11:10
100GAMPER PatrickBORA - hansgrohe11:10
101FIORELLI FilippoBardiani-CSF-Faizanè11:10
102BALLERINI DavideQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team11:10
103VAN MELSEN KévinIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux11:10
104PAASSCHENS MathijsBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB11:10
105SOUPE GeoffreyTotalEnergies11:10
106BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe11:10
107MEENS JohanBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB11:10
108BOARO ManueleAstana Qazaqstan Team11:10
109LAPORTE ChristopheJumbo-Visma11:10
110RUSSO ClémentTeam Arkéa Samsic11:10
111LUDVIGSSON TobiasGroupama - FDJ11:10
112JAUREGUI QuentinB&B Hotels - KTM11:10
113PLANCKAERT BaptisteIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux11:10
114BRAET VitoSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:10
115VAN DER HOORN TacoIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux11:10
116COQUARD BryanCofidis11:10
117REYNDERS JensSport Vlaanderen - Baloise13:11
118HOLLENSTEIN RetoIsrael - Premier Tech13:11
119DENZ NicoTeam DSM13:11
120BRENNER MarcoTeam DSM13:11
121APERS RubenSport Vlaanderen - Baloise13:11
122ALLEGAERT PietCofidis13:11
123ROWE LukeINEOS Grenadiers13:11
124CAPIOT AmauryTeam Arkéa Samsic13:11
125SHEFFIELD MagnusINEOS Grenadiers13:11
126RANGEL ViniciusMovistar Team13:11

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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