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0km - Thanks for following our coverage of the Amstel Gold Race, and join us on Wednesday for live text coverage of the Fleche-Wallonne.
0km - Well, I honestly thought Gilbert had done too much of the chasing over the final few kilometres, but even with all that effort in his legs he still had enough to hammer everybody in the sprint. A deserving winner.
0km - A round-up of the top ten: 1 Philippe Gilbert; 2 Joaquim Rodriguez; 3 Simon Gerrans; 4 Jakob Fuglsang; 5 Aleksandr Kolobnev; 6 Oscar Freire; 7 Björn Leukemans; 8 Ben Hermans; 9 Robert Gesink; 10 Paul Martens.
0km - Philippe Gilbert wins Amstel Gold for the second successive year!!! Joaquim Rodriguez is second, with Simon Gerrans third! What a performance from Gilbert! He absolutely destroyed everyone on the Cauberg!
0.3km - Gilbert is hanging onto the rear wheel of Rodriguez!!! Now he flies past the Spaniard!!!
0.6km - Rodriguez hits the front with Gilbert in his wheel! Schleck is caught!
0.8km - Schleck has five seconds on the pack! Surely not enough, is it?
1km - Schleck goes under the flamme rouge!!
2km - Gilbert is doing all the work here, and the rest are effectively getting a free ride! Is he doing too much? Is he panicking? The rest have latched onto Gilbert's wheel! Rabobank and Trek must be thrilled with this situation!
4km - Gilbert has hit the front and caused a split in the chasing group!! Fuglsang, Leukemens, Freire and Rodriguez are all on the Belgian's wheel, the rest are further behind.
4km - Gilbert moves right up to the front of the group, and Fuglsang jumps straight onto his wheel! Gilbert is visibly nervous about letting Andy Schleck hit the Cauberg on his own!
5km - There are an awful lot of people in this group doing nothing, and Gilbert is getting a little edgy. He's shouting at Gesink, trying to get the Rabobanks to work.
6km - Rabobank have Gesink and Freire in this chasing group! A very dangerous duo! Gilbert is sittnig right at the back of the pack, biding his time while Van den Broeck buries himself at the front.
9km - Schleck has 7 seconds on the pack. It's not much given the distance they still have to go.
10km - Schleck had to make a move, and he's certainly done that, though I really can't see him staying away on the flat section all the way up to the Cauberg.
12km - Rodriguez attacks again, and this time it's Kolobnev, but he's soon reeled back in...and Andy Schleck now digs hard!!! That's a big move!
12km - Joaquim Rodriguez launches an attack at the very foot of the Keutenberg for Katusha! But he's struggling to gain more than a few seconds on the pack. Gilbert's now panicking, allowing Van den Broeck to continue setting the pace. OOH! I've just seen Oscar Freire in the front group! If they bring him to the Cauberg he'll be a real danger!
14km - Moreno and Hoogerland are in this group too, as is Vino, and Van den Broeck continues to pull on the front at a punishing pace.
15km - The lead group now comes flying down off the Fromberg and drives on towards the Keutenberg. This will be the last chance for the likes of Andy Schleck and Robert Gesink to make their move.
16km - Gilbert has two team-mates in here! That will be a massive advantage to him if and when the attacks come on the Keutenberg.
17km - This group of 15 to 20 riders remains together as they reach the top of the Fromberg. Gesink, Hoogerland, Andy Schleck, Gilbert, Kolobnev are all in there, as is Cunego, and as is Jurgen Van den Broeck.
19km - Kolobnev puts in a massive dig on the Eyserbosweg and shatters the peloton!!! Down to just an elite few now. Maybe 15 or so riders, and most of the favourites are in here! Minus, of course, Frank Schleck and Fabian Cancellara.
20km - Fuglsang hits the front of the peloton now alongside Gerrans, Leukemans, Gilbert and Kolobnev as Tankink is caught!
20km - Bram Tankink attacks on the descent!! He's hurling his bike through the tight corners like a lunatic!! Impressive stuff!!
21km - Schleck has a problem!! He needs a new bike, his rear derailleur is broken, and he can no longer follow Cancellara! Is his race now over?
23km - Another fall!!! No traffic islands in sight, but FRANK SCHLECK IS DOWN!! AS IS CANCELLARA!!! Disaster for the Leopard-Trek squad. They're both back on their bikes, and will have to work together well if they're to make it back to the peloton!
24km - The peloton have brought it all back together now though.
25km - Maxim Iglinskiy attacks from the pack now, he's immediately marked by Johnny Hoogerland, and the Vacansoleil man then uses Iglinskiy's attack as a launchpad to go clear! Half a dozen or so riders are chasing him, including Geoffroy Lequattre and Martin Elmiger.
30km - Six climbs left: The Gulperberg, the Kruisberg, the Eyserbosweg, the Fromberg, the famed Keutenberg and finally the Cauberg. The peloton is still in a fairly big bunch, though I don't see it lasting much longer. A crash! Dominik Nerz has come down heavily in the peloton, and his race is over. He looks in a lot of pain, and is being tended to by team staff.
35km - Jerome Pineau now launches an attack off the front, swiftly followed by Trek-Leopard's Fuglsang, and that prompts a whole host of attacks. The peloton is strung right out along the road now, and Hinault and Fuglsang have been caught. It's all beginning to kick off, as an Astana rider tries and fails to go clear. Meanwhile, the lead quartet have been caught.
40km - These traffic islands really are a major hazard for the riders. So far they haven't caused any major incidents or crashes, though there have been a few close shaves. Andy Schleck is right at the back of this peloton after dropping back to the team car. He'll need to work his way forward over the next few kilometres. Ryder Hesjedal is also making his way back to the peloton after dropping back.
45km - Well done to Melik and Besmir. Danilo di Luca is indeed the man who can become the first Dutchman to record four podium finished at AGR here today. To keep you updated on the race situation, the peloton continue to close in on the four leaders. The ga[s now down to 40 seconds as we approach the Loorberg.
50km - Philippe Gilbert's Omega Pharma-Lotto squad have now come to the fore to take up the chase, and the gap is now down to 50 seconds.
55km - An attack now comes from Sergei Ivanov - the winner here in 2009, and immediately a reaction comes from the pack! They certainly don't want him to get away. The peloton are now just 1'10" behind the hour leaders now.
55km - Trivia question of the day! One man in the peleton today can become the first non-Dutchman to claim four podium finishes at Amstel Gold. Who is he? Answers below!
60km - HTC's Jan Ghyselinck has also bridged the gap now and has reached Degand, De Negri and Barredo to build a quartet out front as they reach the top of the Bemmelerberg.
65km - We're now at the foot of the Bemelerberg, and Barredo reaches the lead duo. He tries to drop them on the first part of the climb, but the pair manage to hang onto his rear wheel.
70km - The Sanchez and Devolder group has now been caught, after which the pace dropped again prompting Carlos Barredo to go haring off up the road. He's now off in pursuit of Degand and De Negri out front.
75km - Stijn Devolder has reacted to Sanchez's attack and several other riders have followed him. Degand and De Negri are the only riders from the initial breakaway still out front. The rest have been caught.
80km - Our leaders are about to be caught as the Rabobank-led peloton bear down ever closer on them. They'll do well to hang onto the back, as the speed is increasing little by little as riders fight to get to the front. In fact Luis Leon Sanchez has attacked now! If he can build up a bit of a lead then he'll take the pressure right off the rest of the Rabobank team.
85km - The peloton has been split into three groups after a crash, though I don't think these groups will be apart for long, like at Milan-San Remo.
90km - Frank Schleck on his chances today: "I know I can win and that's important for my confidence. Amstel is an elimination race. You can't be further back than 40th position in the peloton in the last 100km and the closer we get to the finish, it becomes harder and harder to hold a position at the front. The thing I like the most is the distance because I'm an endurance rider. The longer the race, the more I perform and the more motivated I become."
95km - The Astana and Sky teams now hit the front as the gap steadies at 3'00" approaching the Vrakelberg, another 700 metre climb at 8%.
100km - We're now approaching the final third of the race, which has been criticised in the past for being dangerous at times, with parked cars and traffic islands frequently causing crashes. Staying at the front, therefore, is all important. Gilbert's assessment of the race: "I consider the Amstel Gold Race as one of the most beautiful classics, but also as one of the most dangerous. You should therefore always be very careful when riding it."
105km - The Rabobank team have their bikes adorned with a red rose, the symbol of the Ride of the Roses, an annual cycling event that raises money for the fight against cancer.
110km - The leaders now know they're not going to be out front for much longer. Their lead has fallen below the three minute mark for the first time.
115km - One of two riders including Johan Vansummeren have stopped for a quick bathroom break in the peloton. The leaders are now not far off the Gulpenerberg, a short but sharp 700 metre climb that averages out at 8%.
120km - The Leopard-Trek team of Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers have now come to the front of the pack and have brought the gap down to 4'45".
125km - Thomas reckons Samuel Sanchez is the man for today (which isn't a bad shout), while Debbie says: "4I'm really feeling a showing of Schlecks. This is the type of race they have been waiting for." The wonderfully-named l'Empereur predicts: "Johnny Hoogerland as my dark horse, Gilbert as the man to beat, Rodriguez - Gesink - Hesjedal for the top 10." Jacob was clearly impressed by his performance at Paris Roubaix, and says: "Watch out for Nick Nuyens..."
130km - Get out the Jupiler and waffles, we've now entered Belgium! The route takes the riders through the Easternmost part of Belgium, and up the Gemmenich, the 13th climb, before looping back into Holland. The peloton seem happy to keep the leaders on a leash of 6'45".
135km - 11 hills down, 21 to go. The peloton are now on the 12th climb of the day, the Camerig. It's certainly not the steepest, at just 4%, but at 4 kilometres it's the longest of the climbs on the route. Meanwhile, the peloton continue to take time back on the four leaders, who are now just 7'00" ahead.
140km - So, we've had a look at the favourites for victory here today, but if recent weeks are anything to go by, we could well have one of the underdogs winning here. Who do you fancy for victory? Post your thoughts below, and I'll put them into the live comments.
145km - Rabobank move to the front of the peloton as the gap comes back down to 10'00". There was a bit of looking around at the head of the pack a little while ago as the big teams were looking around wondering who exactly was going to take up the chase and when. Well, we now have our answer.
150km - Fabian CANCELLARA: Normally I wouldn't consider Cancellara one of the main contenders for this race, but the agony of two podium finishes but no victories in Flanders and Roubaix could see Spartacus launch a death-or-glory bid for victory before he takes a break ahead of the Tour. He won't want to leave it to the Cauberg, but could well try an attack 30 kilometres out.
155km - The peloton are showing very little interest in chasing down this breakaway. The gap is up to 11'30" now.
160km - Philippe Gilbert is forced to change bikes. I don't think he suffered a crash, but in any case he needs a new machine, and he's quickly back on his way.
165km - Ryder HESJEDAL: Despite having a wealth of classics specialists among their ranks, the Garmin-Cervelo squad looked like they might win sweet nothing this Spring until Johan Vansummeren saved the day for them at Paris-Roubaix. Vansummeren is not really suited to these climbs, but Canadian Hesjedal is. "I think the whole team's on a high and the guys who came out of Pais Vasco are going to be blending into the Ardennes now on great form," he said.
170km - Our lead quartet stretch their advantage to 8'00" as we approach the Wolfsberg.
175km - Damiano CUNEGO: Much like the Katusha team, Lampre are in desperate need of some positive headlines following the doping raid that police launched in their hotel recently. Nothing was found, though such events do not please sponsors. Cunego has converted himself into a one-day specialist in recent years, and short, punchy climbs like the Cauberg are ideally suited to him. He represents the biggest danger to Gilbert, though his team isn't as strong as others in the pack.
180km - That three minute lead has rapidly gone out to six minutes as the pace in the peloton drops right down.
185km - Our leaders have extended their lead to 3'00" as they crest the Cauberg for the first time. They'll be climbing it twice more today.
190km - Björn LEUKEMANS: The Vacansoleil leader has been there or thereabouts in the classics for years, though without ever landing a big win. He's finished 4th and 8th at Paris Roubaix, 7th here (back in 2005 before his doping ban), 4th in Flanders last year, was 7th in Flanders this year, and was the only man able to hang onto the coat-tails of Gilbert at Brabantse Pijl. One to watch over the final 20 kilometres, though will need to make his move well before the Cauberg.
195km - Finally a quartet break clear! Thomas Degand (Veranda's Willems Accent, Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano), Simone Ponzi (Liquigas) and Pierpaolo De Negri (Farnese Vini) have a 30" gap on the peloton.
200km - KATUSHA: Yes, they're a team and not a single rider, but they're a fighteningly strong team. Joaquim Rodriguez, Alexandr Kolobnev, Sergei Ivanov and Danilo di Luca are all capable of winning here. If they can work together (and that's a pretty big if), then they're one of the few teams capable of foiling Gilbert by themselves. They're due a big win, and need to make some positive headlines after all those doping stories emerged recently. More about that here.
205km - Nobody gets clear on the Bergseweg either, the fourth of our 32 hills. Pretty much ideal conditions for speedy racing here. It's bright, cool, and there's pretty much no wind about.
210km - An average speed of 46km/h over the first hour of racing is exactly why we've had no successful breakaways yet.
215km - Frank & Andy SCHLECK: Somehow, despite being by far and away the strongest rider in the field, Cancellara failed to take victory in either Flanders or Roubaix, meaning the pressure to deliver is slightly greater on the Schleck brothers to deliver Trek-Leopard with a victory. Frank is perhaps the better bet, firstly as he has already shown he can win here (2006) and secondly as Andy is likely to work for him here, in return for Frank's support at the Tour in July.
220km - Alexandre VINOKOUROV: The veteran Kazakh's pedigree in the Ardennes classics is good. He won here in 2003, and left Alexandr Kolobnev for dead to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year. His recent win in stage 3 of the Tour of the Basque country shows he's a force to be reckoned with, and he's certainly a man you can never write off. He wouldn't be a popular winner, as was shown in Liege, but that won't bother him one bit.
225km - Robert GESINK: Rabobank's leader comes into this race with more pressure on his shoulders than anyone else, such is the importance the Dutch place upon their biggest one-day race. Today will be an especially emotional occasion for him, as his father died from injuries sustained in a crash on the Keutenberg less than a year ago. His assessment of his chances: "He [Gilbert] is more of a favourite than I am. I lack that explosiveness in the hills. If I start the Cauberg with Gilbert, it's over."
230km - As the peloton continue to neutralise the attacks, let's take a look at the favourites for victory, starting with defending champion Philippe GILBERT: The Belgian already has four wins and he took an impressive third at Milan-San Remo. He knows the peloton will be watching him like a hawk, but as he quite rightly pointed out before the race: "Here when the favourite goes flat out on the climb, at the top there are maybe only one or two guys who can stay with him and that makes a big difference."
235km - The last ten winners here were: Philippe Gilbert (2010), Serguei Ivanov (2009), Damiano Cunego (2008), Stefan Schumacher (2007), Frank Schleck (2006), Danilo Di Luca (2005), Davide Rebellin (2004) Alexandre Vinokourov (2003), Michele Bartoli (2002) and Erik Dekker (2001).
240km - Dutchman Jan Raas is the man who holds the record for the most victories here - with an impressive total of five wins from just six starts between 1977 and 1982. After him, Eddy Merckx and Rolf Järmann have two wins apiece. The fact that we've had 29 different winners here in the last 30 years shows just how difficult it is to string a series of wins together here.
245km - The attacks continue to come as the peloton cross the Maasberg, the first of today's 32 hills, but still the pace in the pack is such that nobody has been able to open a gap.
250km - Omega Pharma-Lotto's Philippe Gilbert is the defending champion here. The Belgian kept his powder dry until the final 500 metres of the Cauberg before leaving his rivals standing with an explosive attack that afforded him the time to savour his victory as he crossed the line. We know from Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders that his form is good, and he is a big, big favourite to take victory here on a course far more suited to his talents.
255km - Predictably, a flurry of attacks have come in the opening few kilometres, but nobody has been able to get clear yet.
258km - Race commissar Leo van Vliet drops his flag, and the peloton are off on their 258-kilometre arduous trek through the Ardennes which will finish atop the Cauberg, the last of 32 hills on the parcours.
9:20 - The official start was given a couple of minutes ago in the market of Maastricht. The racing will begin in earnest once the peloton makes it out of the centre of town.
9:20 - Welcome to Eurosport-Yahoo!'s live text coverage of the Amstel Gold Race!