The National Times - Kwiatkowski wins Amstel Gold classic in photo finish 'confusion'

Kwiatkowski wins Amstel Gold classic in photo finish 'confusion'

Kwiatkowski wins Amstel Gold classic in photo finish 'confusion'
Kwiatkowski wins Amstel Gold classic in photo finish 'confusion'

Poland's Michał Kwiatkowski won the Amstel Gold classic on Sunday for the second time in his career after being judged the winner following a thrilling photo finish with France's Benoit Cosnefroy.

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Ineos Grenadiers rider Kwiatkowski's strong burst to the line snatched victory to add to his success in the 2015 edition of the Dutch one-day classic.

It was a frustrating finish for Cosnefroy who had believed he was just the third French winner of the race.

Organisers had initially declared the AG2R Citroen rider winner after the 254km race in the hills of South Limburg.

Last year's race was also a photo finish with Belgian Wout van Aert pipping Briton Tom Pidcock, a teammate of Kwiatkowski.

"After the race I didn't know, there was a lot of confusion," said Kwiatkowski, "but I heard what happened to Tom (Pidcock) last year you have to wait for the photo finish".

The former world champion admitted he had a lot of help from Pidcock in his push for a 29th career success.

"(Cosnefroy) had to work hard. I had Pidcock in the group behind."

The race sprung to life in Keutenberg, 35km from the finish line, where the Ineos team led by Kwiatkowski and Pidcock led a group of eleven riders.

Kwiatkowski, 31, broke away with 22km to go, followed a few minutes later by 26-year-old Cosnefroy, who joined him 19km from the finish, on the penultimate ascent.

Behind, Pidcock controlled the counter-attackers and the last stand of race favourite Mathieu van der Poel.

"With Kwiatkowski and Pidcock in the squad, I knew it would be tough," van der Poel admitted.

"It was very tactical and I didn't have the legs to pick off everyone. It's not the race that suits me best, compared to the Tour of Flanders," added the Dutchman, who won the Belgian classic a week ago.

Kwiatkowski followed on from his previous classic successes including Milan-Sanremo, Strade Bianche and the Clasica San Sebastian.

Meanwhile Cosnefroy achieved the best French performance in the race since Bernard Hinault's victory in 1981.

Jean Stablinski, winner of the first edition in 1966, is the only other Frenchman on the list.

"I'm happy to stand on the podium even if would have preferred to win against 'Kwiato' in the sprint, there was very little in it," said Cosnefroy.

"Kwiatkowski had the Tom Pidcock card behind. I had to count on a sprint against him."

Belgian Tiejs Benoot came out on the counter-attack in the final sprint to finish third ahead of van der Poel.

The one-day classics continue with Paris-Roubaix next Sunday followed by the Fleche Wallonne on April 20 and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege four days later.