VALKENBURG, Netherlands — Wout van Aert beat Tom Pidcock in a photo finish at the Amstel Gold Race, while Marianne Vos accelerated away from Demi Vollering and Annemiek van Vleuten from a reduced bunch to win the women’s edition.
Van Aert joined Pidcock and Max Schachmann in a breakaway over the famed Cauberg climb with about six miles left in the race, and the trio began jockeying for the lead with 300 meters to go. But in a reversal of the result at Brabantse Pijl earlier in the week, it was van Aert that edged Picock at the finish line to give his Jumbo-Visma team the win.
“They said I won but I don’t actually believe it,” said van Aert, who added a second major classics win to his triumph at Gent-Wevelgem. “Just two minutes ago the jury came to tell me I won.”
The finish set up perfectly for the Belgian classics specialist with a long sprint to the finish.
The 26-year-old Van Aert, who won Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche last year, has developed into one of the best one-day racers in the world. But with an Olympics road race course in Tokyo that favors climbers, van Aert may shelve his gold medal ambitions this summer to save himself for the Olympic time trial, where he would be among the favorites.
Meanwhile, Vos is starting to show the form that won her Olympic gold in the road race at the 2012 Games in London.
The Dutch superstar stayed out of trouble before the reduced field began attacking on the final trip up the Cauburg, about 1 1/2 miles from the finish. Van Vleuten was the first to make a move, then defending champion Kasia Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini went to the front, further shattering what was left of the peloton.
Vos wound up sprinting clear of Vollering and van Vleuten over the final 500 meters to win her first Amstel Gold Race.
“Winning the Amstel Gold Race has always been a big goal for me,” Vos said. “I’ve already experienced great editions, but this is really cool. It feels different without spectators, but you notice that people care about this race. I hope we have made the people at home happy. In any case, I enjoyed it, even though it was very hard.”