Amstel Gold Race: Michal Kwiatkowski wins the photo-finish ahead of Benoît Cosnefroy

Bernard Hinault almost knew his successor. Out in the Geulhemmerberg in pursuit of Michal Kwiatkowski, Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën) thought he would become the 3rd Frenchman to win the Amstel. But, like last year, the photo-finish once again had a major role and, this time, turned in favor of the INEOS Grenadiers runner. Winner in the sprint thanks to a better bike throw, Kwiatkowski thus offers himself his second coronation on the Dutch classic, after that acquired in 2015, and devotes a magnificent team race to the British formation. Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) completes the podium.

INEOS ran their business perfectly

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Everyone was waiting for Mathieu van der Poel, but it’s another former winner who is rediscovering the joys of success in the Amstel Gold Race. A true specialist in the event, not always free to play his card in the season, Michal Kwiatkowski has long seemed to be Thomas Pidcock’s luxury lieutenant this Sunday. After the monstrous job of Ben Turner, it was he who blew up the peloton on the terrible slopes (22%) of Keutenberg, by imposing a huge tempo which even put the big favorite Mathieu Van der Poel in difficulty, isolated since long kilometers after the hard work of his team Alpecin-Fenix ​​to control the race behind a breakaway which never counted more than 5 minutes in advance.

At the top, 33km from the finish, there were only eleven left to dream of victory: Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious), Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco), Asgreen (QuickStep- Alpha Vinyl), Hirschi (UAE Emirates), the surprising Kamp (Trek-Segafredo), Van der Poel, Cosnefroy, Benoot and therefore Pidcock and Kwiatkowski. Taking advantage of their overcrowding, the two INEOS Grenadiers then multiplied their attempts to isolate themselves at the head of the race and it was finally the Pole who managed to win a good exit, crossing the line, after the final climb. du Cauberg, 22km from the finish.

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The group of favorites was unsuspecting, but Benoit Cosnefroy quickly sensed the danger and, after getting scared on a corner that was too wide, the Frenchman made a lightning start in the Geulhemmerberg to quickly come back to Kwiatkowski. The two men immediately collaborated and took advantage of the lack of cohesion and the undermining of Pidcock at the back to create a gap of more than 30″. Van der Poel did try to repeat the blow of 2019 in the final by making two big accelerations, but it was far too late, far too far. Victory could no longer escape the two men. It remained to be seen who, the French or the Pole, was going to win this 56th edition.

Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën) and Michal Kwiatkowski during the 2022 Amstel Gold Race.

Credit: Getty Images

Slower on paper, Cosnefroy tried to trap Kwiatkowski by throwing from afar, in force, but the Pole knows this final too well to be fooled. He waited until the last moment to make his effort and overtake the Frenchman on the line, also guilty of not having thrown his bike well enough to hope to win. Bernard Hinault will therefore still have to wait to see a Frenchman succeed him on the list of winners, but the AG2R-Citroën rider still becomes the first Frenchman to climb the Amstel podium since… Hinault’s victory in 1981. little consolation.

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