Kroon Gets Silver at Gold
Team Saxo Bank was only meters away from victory in the Dutch classic, Amstel Gold Race. Karsten Kroon did a brilliant finale, but was beaten by Sergei Ivanov (Katusha) on the line.
The Danish team was in a perfect position with both Kroon, Gustav Larsson and Andy Schleck and by a smart maneuver Kroon managed to escape with Sergei Ivanov and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), while the Belgian Lotto team chased in vain for the last kilometer towards the finish line at the top of the Cauberg.
Kroon looked like the first Dutch winner in ten years, but in the sprint Ivanov was the strongest.
"I put everything on the line and actually thought that it was home safe when I opened on the big chainwheel good 500 meters before to the line. Since I discovered that Ivanov could still keep my wheel, I was well aware that it would not be. I think the team and I did a perfect race and I am proud of what we delivered today, although I am obviously disappointed not takeing the victory. But I must put the disappointment behind me and after all be pleased that we got a great result in a great race and I am really pleased that Frank escaped from the crash in good health. Overall, I think we have a super team here to participate in Fleche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, so there may be several results coming up", said Karsten Kroon after the race, which course was marred by an ugly crash when Frank Schleck seemed to be injured very bad.
The Luxembourg rider lay unconscious on the road long before he was transported to hospital in Maastricht, where studies later showed that Schleck escaped from the crash with only bruises.
"Initially he escaped with a severe concussion and some bruises, but there is nothing broken. It was a cheerless crash, but fortunately Frank is being released tonight and we will then assess whether he can be ready to race again on Wednesday. Nothing seems to be keeping him from racing then" said Kim Andersen, who was generally happy with team's effort.
"I think we did a splendid race, and had several options in the final. Karsten did well, made no mistakes and got the excellent position in the final. He was extremely close to victory, which of course would have been fantastic, but we can be content with second place after all. The team is really in place for this race and it looks really promising for the next two classics - especially if Frank can be ready, added Kim Andersen.
Alexandr Kolobnev was second best Team Saxo Bank rider in sixth place.
Copy courtesy of Team Saxo Bank.