The race was won by Belgium's Philippe Gilbert, after he made a late attack on the final ascent of the Cauberg climb and advanced clear of the rest of the field to win his first world title and the first by a Belgian since Tom Boonen won in Madrid in 2005. He finished four seconds clear of Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen, who claimed the silver medal, while the bronze medal went to Spain's Alejandro Valverde, who finished a second further behind. When the announcement was made of the course, Gilbert was the instant favourite and rode all year with this pressure. Leading into the worlds he had won only two races all season.
The race started in Maastricht and ended in Valkenburg. The first 108 kilometres (67 mi) was contested through a number of Limburg cities before the riders entered a 16.1 kilometres (10.0 mi) circuit to be completed on ten occasions. The finish was 1.7 kilometres (1.1 mi) beyond the summit of the Cauberg hill in Valkenburg – where the Amstel Gold Race has finished since 2003, and hosted the finish of stage 3 of the 2006 Tour de France – a 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) long climb with a maximum gradient of 12%.