De Marchi was part of a reduced chase group that caught Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jacob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) and Michal Kwiatowski (Team Sky) in the final kilometer, which set the stage for Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) to claim the win.
The chaotic race started calmly with Michael Schär forming part of an 11-rider breakaway after 30 kilometers of racing, which the peloton allowed to go more than seven minutes’ down the road.
Schär’s group rolled steadily along until the final 100 kilometers, at which point their advantage dropped below six minutes as the peloton started to pick up the pace.
50 kilometers later, the gap was down to just over one minute and behind, De Marchi and Serge Pauwels were positioned well at the front of the bunch to respond to any moves, protecting team leader Greg Van Avermaet.
An attack from van der Poel with 40 kilometers remaining, which saw the Dutch rider joined by Gorka Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), was neutralized quickly, at which point the peloton also caught Schä’s breakaway.
Van der Poel’s attack was the catalyst for the finale, with Alaphilippe and Fuglsang making their move shortly after and with 30 kilometers remaining, the main chase group with Van Avermaet and De Marchi was 50 seconds behind.
The final ascent of the Cauberg split the chase group even further but De Marchi was well place as they crossed the finish line to signal 16 kilometers to the finish.
The warm weather, aggressive racing, and a total of 35 bergs took their toll in the finale and although it looked like Alaphilippe and Fuglsang had enough of an advantage, Kwiatowski caught the duo under the flamme rouge, and attacks from behind saw De Marchi’s group make a surprise catch with just 300 meters to go.
De Marchi sprinted from behind and was able to dig deep to secure seventh place on the line, a significant improvement on his previous best result of 34th place in 2018.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Alessandro De Marchi:
“If someone had said to me that I would finish in seventh place today, I would have said that it would be like a victory for me. I am happy because I was looking for a result. If you just have good feelings and do a good performance but you don’t finish off the day with something, it is difficult. And honestly, this result came at a race that doesn’t really suit me. In the end, it was a bit like roulette and I have to say thank you to Greg because he said to me to go and that we should try one by one and see what happens. It was really chaotic and difficult to control the race at that point and this opportunity came to me, so I was happy to take it.”
“I didn’t expect us to catch the two leaders. The race exploded really early and the gap that the two guys opened up was really big and they were looking really strong. Being, there was not too much collaboration and it looked like it would be difficult to come back. But, in the end, the race was about the legs and the energy that you had left in the tank. I think Alaphilippe and Fuglsang made a mistake by looking at each other and missed the opportunity to win. In a different race, they could have made it but today we saw with van der Poel that you cannot give up. He was behind and not looking strong but then he took the opportunity.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
“It was quite a good race today. Everybody did a good job, We had Michi in the breakaway so, he was in position when it was important. We then had Alessandro and me in the final. At least, we could place a little bit in the end, It was a strange outcome because I was thinking that Alaphilippe was going to win but, it was good to see Alessandro come close to the victory in the end. I am pretty happy that we had a top ten place. It is super hard to come here and you see that the top ten is completely different from Roubaix and Flanders. I was still up there so I was happy with that. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make a decision about Liège-Bastogne-Liège today. So, I will process today’s race and then decide tomorrow if I will race on Sunday again.”
“It was actually quite a big fight to get into the breakaway. There were a lot of moves in the first 30 kilometers and our designated riders did a lot of work. They were in every move but, at one moment, I saw that we were a little short so I went with one move and, like it often always is, that was the one move that went. I wasn’t planning to do it this morning but it was good to be there. At the beginning, the cooperation was okay but I feel like we could have worked better together and gone much further. Some guys weren’t motivated to roll though so it was a bit of a fight. In the end, it was good to be there today and end my Classics season like that. We haven’t had a big result but we had a good spirit in the team during this Classics season.”
Amstel Gold Race
Maastricht > Berg en Terblijt (266km)
Top 3: 1. Mathieu van der Poel (Cordon Circus), 2. Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling), 3. Jacob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 7. Alessandro De Marchi 14. Greg Van Avermaet 54. Serge Pauwels