Cycling | 15 april 2018
Tankink shows himself in his best light in his last Amstel Gold Race
Bram Tankink has showed himself in his best light in the 53rd Amstel Gold Race. In the last Amstel Gold Race of his career, the 39-year-old from Team LottoNL-Jumbo was part of the day’s breakaway with eight other riders that animated the race for over 200 kilometres. Tankink was eventually reeled in by the bunch on the Keutenberg.
Floris de Tier then attacked on the Cauberg and was the first rider of Team LottoNL-Jumbo to cross the finish line. He became sixteenth.
The classic through the Dutch hills of the province of Limburg, which contained no less than 35 climbs, was action-packed from the beginning. The breakaway with Tankink was established in the opening stages of the race and it got a maximum lead of over 15 minutes.
“Oh man, what a day! This was very special”, Tankink began his review of his epic race. “I never expected that I was able to pull off this performance with my 39 years of age. Firstly, you need to be good enough to participate in the race and secondly, you need to be good enough to be in the break. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t good enough in the final.”
Tankink was also surprised that the breakaway got a lead of more than fifteen minutes. “I said to the boys: come on, let’s go for it. Just go for it. The cooperation was good and we all put in a lot of effort. I’ll keep good memories and a good feeling about this race. I really enjoyed it. The fact that the audience kept shouting my name on all those climbs simply gave me goosebumps.”
De Tier was, above all, surprised that he finished sixteenth despite not feeling in shape. “I was surprised that I reached that far into the final and that I was able to do this. On the Cauberg the pace dropped a little and I thought: let’s go for it! You never know what will happen and how they will react behind you. On the next climb, I had to pay the price for my efforts, but if you don’t try, you will never know. I hope to have a better feeling for the upcoming races and then we’ll see where we’ll end up.”
Sports director Frans Maassen was reasonably happy with the result and the performance of the team. “We were hoping for a place in the top ten, but we couldn’t keep up when the best riders in the world went. It was a fair course and we weren’t strong enough today. We had Bram in the breakaway, which was good. He rode an excellent race. The breakaway got really far. Also Floris deserves a special mention. He rode an excellent race and launched a good attack on the Cauberg deep into the final.”