Kwiatkowski wins 50th Amstel Gold Race

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski won a sprint to the line in the 50th edition of the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.

The Polish rider, 24, caught defending champion Philippe Gilbert, of Belgium, and Australian Michael Matthews in the first

of the spring classics.

Alejandro Valverde of Spain was second and Matthews third in the Netherlands.

“Winning in the (world champion’s) rainbow jersey is such an amazing feeling,” Etixx-Quick Step rider Kwiatkowski told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

“I was really suffering on the last lap,” the 2014 UCI Road World Championships winner added.

Gilbert, seeking his fourth title in the Dutch spring classic, crossed the line in 10th place.

He broke away on the final climb of the Cauberg – a 1200m climb with a maximum gradient of 12% – before the finish and was followed by Matthews.

But neither man could shake off the peloton and they were caught on the final sprint as Kwiatkowski powered past them to win the 258km race, which includes 34 hill climbs.

The Amstel Gold Race is the first of the three Ardennes Classics and the only exclusively Dutch race on the

World Tour. 

The riders return for La Fleche Wallonne, in Belgium, on Wednesday and finish with Liege-Bastogne-Liege next Sunday.

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