THE HAGUE, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert won the Dutch classic Amstel Gold Race for the third time on Sunday.
In the race over 251.4 kilometers from Maastricht to Valkenburg, Gilbert drove away from the peloton on the fourth and final climb of the Cauberg, three kilometers from the finish.
The 31-year-old BMC rider reached the finish solo. Gilbert also won the Dutch classic in 2010 and 2011.
His compatriot Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) had to settle for the second place, four seconds behind Gilbert. Australian Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) finished third on eight seconds, same time with Alejandro Valverde (Esp, Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol, Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
A leading group of 10 riders already emerged after five kilometers. While among others favorite Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) withdrew after a crash, the leading group took a lead of almost 15 minutes.
After 56 kilometers the deficit shrank, another escape attempt also stranded prematurely, causing the peloton to be reunited at seven kilometers from the finish. A group of about 40 men started the final climb of the Cauberg, when Gilbert made the difference.
"Superb, very nice to win this classic again," Gilbert said. "I'm going to enjoy first and after that think about the next races."