Amstel runner-up initially declared winner
Premature celebrations: Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) celebrates the supposed victory in the Amstel Gold Race with his teammates. | Photo: Cor Vos
04/10/2022 | (rsn) – The defeated cheered while the victor shed tears of disappointment. Due to incorrect information, Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën) was initially able to celebrate the supposedly greatest success of his career at the 56th Amstel Gold Race. Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), the 2015 winner, was in second place after 254 kilometers from Maastricht to Berg en Terblijt. Only after a few minutes later the finish photo was available did the jury correct itself and now correctly explain the 31-year-old Pole to the winner of the first of the three Ardennes classics.
Cosnefroy, who was five years his junior, was initially taken aback, but then turned out to be a fair loser, although not without directing clear words to the jury. “Because of the finish photo, there is no discussion. But they should have waited for this photo,” said the Frenchman, who narrowly missed out on the greatest success of his career after a great performance. “I made few or no mistakes today,” Cosnefroy added. “But I knew that in a two-man sprint it would not be easy to beat Michal Kwiatkowski. That was then also shown.”
The U23 world champion had previously done everything right. After Kwiatkowski slipped away shortly after the penultimate finish, Cosnefroy pulled away from the group of favorites on the Geulhemmerberg, the penultimate of the 33 climbs, and shortly afterwards caught up with the 2014 World Champion. After that, Cosnefroy also took over most of the leadership work and finally opened the sprint from the front before the experienced Kwiatkowski narrowly passed him.
“Kwiatkowski was able to play more poker”
“What can I say? Kwiatkowski didn’t steal the win, did he? He attacked first. Hats off to his performance,” says the AG2R professional, who has to wait for his first win outside of his home country. Cosnefroy achieved all twelve of his successes at races in France. Nevertheless, he emphasized: “I am happy about this podium place. I have felt strong. The only downside was that Kwiatkowski was able to play a little more poker because he still had Tom Pidcock as a teammate in the pursuit,” said the Amstel runner-up, who, on the other hand, had no understanding for the behavior of the officials.
“With the technical capabilities available today, you would expect them to pick the right winner right away. Last year (when the match between Pidcock and Wout Van Aert was similarly close, i.e. editor) it was also close, but they waited for the photo finish. You’d better have done the same thing this time. I don’t understand why they were so quick. This is a glaring mistake, as the photo finish clearly shows that Kwiatkowski crossed the finish line first. Now I just have to make my peace with it,” Cosnefroy hinted that it might take him some time to wrap up.
However, he already has the chance to take revenge on Wednesday at the Brabant arrow. In his current condition, Cosnefroy is one of the top favorites.