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Amstel Gold Race
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:43 »
Amstel Gold Race[1]

Since 1966 the Amstel Gold Race takes place in Limburg every year. The 52nd edition will take place on Sunday, April 16th.

Herman Krott was the founder of the first Amstel Gold Race. And it all started with a big dream: organising a classic race. He still remembers exactly how it all began; "I organised a few races in the Netherlands. Smaller events mainly, but my dream was to create a true Dutch Classic that could compete with the Rounds of Flanders and Milan– Sanremo. I had already figured it out, my race would run from Amsterdam all the way down to Maastricht. Secretly I already had cycled the race several times, nobody knew this at the time. Sadly, it wasn't feasible. Because of all the bridges and detours, the course became to long. That's why we left from Breda the first time in 1966.”

So Meerssen would function as the finish line for a long time. “That was just lucky”, Krott recalled. ”We were negotiating with the city of Simpelveld, but we couldn't reach an agreement. While we were standing outside, we bumped into cycling enthusiast Willem-Berend Hietbrink. ‘Are you looking for a finish location, you have to come with me right now', he said and took me to his hometown: Meerssen. And so the case was settled.”

Drama and heroism characterised the first edition of the Amstel Gold Race, which ran from Breda to Meerssen. After a monstrous course of 300 kilometres, three team-members from the Ford France-team, Frenchman Jean Stablinski, Belgian Bernard van de Kerkhove and local Limburgian Jan Hugens, sprinted for victory in Meerssen. In the deciding meters local favourite Hugens lost all chance for victory when his chain jammed. Because of former world champion Stablinski would go for the win in the very first Amstel Gold Race. As winner, Stablinski was rewarded with an exclusive golden ring in the form of an Amstel beer barrel.

Although de founder of the only procycling classic in the Netherlands said farewell meanwhile and passed his duties as the organizer on to former pupil Leo van Vliet, Herman Krott has always been guest of honour at 'his' Amstel Gold Race. As of 2005 the Amstel Gold Race finishes in the municipality Valkenburg aan de Geul. From 2005 up until 2012, the finish was on top of the Cauberg and on from 2013 the finish was situated at the Rijksweg in Vilt, 1.8 kilometres after the former finish line at the top of the Cauberg.


This year, the organization of the Amstel Gold Race decided to modify the route of the Amstel Gold Race again though, and have taken the Cauberg out of the final loop to the finish. “With Roman Kreuziger, Philippe Gilbert, Michal Kwiatkowski and Enrico Gasparotto the Amstel Gold Race had great winners the latest years. Despite this, after the race there always was discussion that the course was locked too long because the Cauberg at two kilometres from the finish would be too decisive. However it is a worldwide image in many races that riders wait a long time until the race enters the same breaking point every year. By deleting the last climb of the Cauberg from our race we hope to create a more open race, which leads to more potential winners and the attacking riders will have more change”, Course director Leo van Vliet said.

~pdf Roadbook

This is the new finish of the Amstel Gold race (via @raffilpt):



Additionally to the 18 World Tour Teams, the organization has handed out six wildcards:
  • #bardiani Bardiani-CSF
  • #ccc CCC Sprandi Polkowice
  • #direct Direct Energie
  • #roompot Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
  • #topsport Sport-Vlaanderen Baloise
  • #wanty Wanty-Groupe Gobert
~pdf provisional startlist

The Bookies have Matthews, Colbrelli, Gilbert, Valverde and Kwiatkowski all listed as more or less equal favorites for Sunday, with Coquard and van Avermaet not far behind. Let's hope it really turns out to be such an open race.
 1. Source of all text: AGR Website
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    AG

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 11:41 »
    A few of the teams have attacked a LOT more - and a lot earlier - this spring so far .... so lets hope it continues into the Ardennes.

    Spring so far has been a joy to watch - with almost every race the actual racing has started pretty early and no waiting, waiting, waiting as we have seen in the past few years.

    With no Alaphilippe, Gilbert will be a big focus for Quickstep - but they still have Dan Martin so have the option of sending one of them off early.  A few other teams have a couple of good options as well, so its possible

    (ok maybe I am dreaming ... but its nice to dream  :lol )


    I dunno about the change to the parcours - but I suppose they had to do something to stop everyone just waiting for the Cauberg
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    « Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 14:56 by search »

    AG

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 14:26 »
    oh that is crap

     :(
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #4 on: April 15, 2017, 06:35 »
    going to be interesting just to see how the race plays out but the best race of the ardennes 2 weeks is already over, hope this course change does something positive to the race
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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #5 on: April 15, 2017, 12:49 »
    first star ratings:

    *be Het Nieuwsblad
    :*:*:*:*:* GvA
    :*:*:*:* Gilbert, Kwiatkowski
    :*:*:* Valverde, Matthews, Colbrelli
    :*:* Coquard, Vakoc, Wellens, Naesen
    :* Fuglsang, Benoot, Gerrans, Felline, Ulissi


    *nl de Telegraaf
    :*:*:*:*:* GvA, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski
    :*:*:*:* Valverde, Matthews, Colbrelli
    :*:*:* Gaspa, Martin, Gerrans, Wellens, Valgren
    :*:* Brambilla, Felline, Costa, Ulissi, Kreuziger
    :* Keukeleire, Benoot, Coquard, Haas, Visconti, Fuglsang, Konrad
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #6 on: April 15, 2017, 18:10 »
    all 18 #ccc CCC bikes were stolen in Valkenburg last night

    Some good news. :cool

    https://twitter.com/CCCProTeam/status/853143730236395520

    Eighteen bikes inside one car?! I demand photographic evidence.
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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #7 on: April 16, 2017, 07:59 »
    more stars :)

    *fr l'Équipe
    :*:*:*:*:* Valverde
    :*:*:*:* Gilbert, Colbrelli, Matthews
    :*:*:* van Avermaet, Kwiatkowski, Coquard
    :*:* Wellens
    :* Vichot, Felline
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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #8 on: April 16, 2017, 09:37 »
    first star ratings:

    *be Het Nieuwsblad
    :*:*:*:*:* GvA
    :*:*:*:* Gilbert, Kwiatkowski
    :*:*:* Valverde, Matthews, Colbrelli
    :*:* Coquard, Vakoc, Wellens, Naesen
    :* Fuglsang, Benoot, Gerrans, Felline, Ulissi


    *nl de Telegraaf
    :*:*:*:*:* GvA, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski
    :*:*:*:* Valverde, Matthews, Colbrelli
    :*:*:* Gaspa, Martin, Gerrans, Wellens, Valgren
    :*:* Brambilla, Felline, Costa, Ulissi, Kreuziger
    :* Keukeleire, Benoot, Coquard, Haas, Visconti, Fuglsang, Konrad

    do these guys actually watch cycling?

    seriously - how could anyone put Valverde - who has won everything he has so much as looked at so far this year - and GvA on similar form - on the same ratings as Matthews who has had 1 win in 9 months - and did pretty much F*** all at Brabantse Pijl earlier this week

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  • AG

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 01:10 »
    What a great race we were treated to !!!   

    It was described by one of the commentators as the course this year being Like the Tour of Flanders but without the cobbles - and so it was.


    When coverage started at 95km to go - all was calm.  A 7 or 8 man break was still out at 4 1/2 minutes or so and all was going fine.

    around 65km to go BMC decided that their best shot was to make it hard .. and so they did.  They put every man on the front and rode very hard for the next 25 or 30km. 

    With about 40 to go they bought back the break - and BMC eased allowing Benoot to engineer a move.  Wtih Gilbert, Henao, Ion Izaguirre, Albasini, Rohas and Nathan Haas they got a small gap that ranged from 10 - 20 seconds.  It was never much but they stayed away for the next 5-10km

    Then they hit the Keutenberg with about 30 to go and the race simply smashed to pieces.   The gap to the move was only about 15 seconds - and Kwiatkowski bridged it so easily it was like they were standing still.   Valverde and GvA couldnt go with him - and couldnt quite bridge.  They had Wellens and Felline with them ... and spent a good 10 km with the gap hovering at about 12 or 15 seconds.  It was so close but they couldnt (or wouldnt) bridge.

    Valverde wasnt working though - as he had Rojas up front.  Felline wasnt working much either - and so GVA did most with Wellens helping a bit.

    Eventually Valverde started taking turns (and a few others joined the group - though none would work with Valv/GVA) - but with the group ahead committed, they had lost their chance.

    Benoot unfortunately had a mechanical and dropped - but the rest worked together very well to gain a 40 second odd gap by the final ascent of the Cauberg.

    The Bemelberg with 6km to go the group finally split.  Kwiatko had a good dig early but couldnt get a gap - and with Henao also in the front group was in a good enough position to not worry.   Gilbert though needed a smaller group so went hard and only Kwia could stay with him.

    They got a small gap, and worked very well together to stay away.  With Haas and Rojas int he group it was too dangerous to try and outsprint them... and Haas was super impressive almost getting accross to the pair once over the top.

    They then worked well until 1km to go when it was clear they would contest for the win.

    Kwiatkowski pushed Gilbert to the front - but then made his only mistake for the day going far too early in the sprint.  There was a bit of a headwind so although he got a gap on Gilbert - Phil came over the top to win his 4th Amstel Gold.





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  • « Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 02:27 by AG »

    AG

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 02:34 »
    What we learned


    1 - Gilbert back to 2011 form  (as if there was doubt after RvV  :D )

    2 - Kwiatkowski was simply awesome.  He will be tough to beat at Liege

    3 - GVA and Valverde need to watch the moves more closely.  They were both super strong, but didnt bridge at the crucial time and the race was gone.  Quickstep has attacked early and hard at every single race this spring - and many times that move has stayed away for the win. 

    4 - Moving the finish worked.  This was the best Amstel Gold Race we have had in years. 

    5 - The 4 favourites for LBL have each had an amazing spring.   3 have won monuments, and 1 has won all stage races he has faced.  One of them will have a perfect spring and the rest just great ones.
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  • « Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 02:54 by AG »

    AG

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 02:53 »
    and lastly - with Matthews - I had to laugh. 

    I had just finished reading this before the race

    http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/storystream/i-want-attack-amstel-gold-matthews

    Quote
    Matthews' declaration comes in response to Philippe Gilbert's criticism of his "waiting" at De Brabantse Pijl where the Australian finished 11th ahead of Gilbert in 15th.   

    "It's easy for Gilbert to talk, he had three teammates in the escape and then some in the peloton. I had to do everything alone and I knew when he attacked I had to follow. If I left, he would come behind me and stay in my wheel. So I did not have any options."

    And yet it seemed the newly crowned Tour of Flanders champion may have touched a nerve or two, the Canberran saying he wanted to vary his tactics.

    "I'd love to be an attacking rider like van Avermaet or Gilbert. Change some ingrained habits and not sit and wait for the sprint.

    yet at Brabantse Pijl - his lack of team mates didnt end up costing him the race - his inability to go did.  Vakoc and Wellens bridged from the peloton and contested the sprint.  Matthews' lack of team mates wasnt the issue - he simply couldnt go with them at the end.

    And at Amstel Gold - it was all talk.  Far from attacking - when the moves were being made - both the Benoot move, and when things split up with 30 to go and GVA/Valverde went ahead ... Bling was nowhere.

    I have no doubt that with the new finish he WILL win this race.  It is perfect for him.   But he has to come here in better shape. 
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  • Francois the Postman

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 15:45 »
    I thoroughly enjoyed the race. And AG, congrats again, 'your' man certainly found a new spring in his step!


    Amstel Gold's reimagined finish might have had a big hand in that, but every Spring race this year has ranged from surpsingly watchable to the down-right epic, so it's probably a combo of a changed route with the spirited 2017 race attitude of (enough of) the riders and teams themselves that has added Amstel Gold to an impressive list of Spring entertainment success stories. I can certainly see how AG(*) can easily become a predictable snoozefest again, if people applied the wait-and-see-and-maybe-somehow-a-miracle-happens-in-the-last-km approaches of the past. Or how the races of the last few years could have been transformed if riders were allowed actual do-or-die attacks from further out.

     
    I am delighted that teams finally seem to attack every race with the sort of entrepreneurial spirit that has been shunned for far too long. And hey, it works AND results in more attractive races, waddayouknow. This is the sort of racing that got me into the sport back in the 1970s, and it's good to see 'what I remembered', real or imagined, back on our screens.

    Maybe all that was needed to make racing more attractive wasn't tinkering with formats and exotic sandpit locations, but DSs ripping up those godawful-risk-aversed-playbooks and let road-savy riders actually, you know... race!

    You probably need a tipping point of riders who are feeling good and are actually up for giving 'crazy risking it all to win or lose badly' a shot every now and then. We certainly have had a great sprinkling of those riders this Spring. I have been saluting some of the losers as much as the ones who made it onto the top podium step, for giving us 80+k of actual racing, week in week out. 


    With one-day racing coming up for the GT break(s), and with the Giro only a couple of weeks away, I am wondering (hoping) that GTs will follow where one-day races have been leading.

    And with an impressive roster of GC riders -apparently- keen to avoid Froome in the TdF (rightly or wrongly -this year I think it might actually be wrongly), who knows, maybe this year's Spring miracle will give us an epic GT to crow about too.


    But first: even more Classics. Yay!


    (*): the race, not the Godess
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  • « Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 17:39 by Francois the Postman »

    Caruut

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #13 on: April 19, 2017, 12:01 »
    What a race! Probably the finest hilly classic I've seen since I started watching. Had everything, long attacks by favourites, riders brushing, multiple groups on the road, attacks out of a small group and then a 2-up sprint for the line between the two strongest, most tactically astute riders. Absolutely thought Kwiatkowski had it, but Gilbert played that to perfection.

    This spring really has been a treat, I had also been thinking on this tipping point idea as an explanation. Very pleased to see attacking riding being rewarded, and long may this new paradigm reign. Bring on the last of the spring!
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  • jimmythecuckoo

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 16:43 »
    Whether its just because I watched highlights but I didn't think it was that good a race  :shh :shh
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  • Il Grillo

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 00:21 »
    and lastly - with Matthews - I had to laugh. 

    I had just finished reading this before the race

    http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/storystream/i-want-attack-amstel-gold-matthews

    yet at Brabantse Pijl - his lack of team mates didnt end up costing him the race - his inability to go did.  Vakoc and Wellens bridged from the peloton and contested the sprint.  Matthews' lack of team mates wasnt the issue - he simply couldnt go with them at the end.

    And at Amstel Gold - it was all talk.  Far from attacking - when the moves were being made - both the Benoot move, and when things split up with 30 to go and GVA/Valverde went ahead ... Bling was nowhere.

    I have no doubt that with the new finish he WILL win this race.  It is perfect for him.   But he has to come here in better shape.

    To be fair, Matthews was involved in the same crash as Gasparotto and Kreuziger. There wasn't much he could do.
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  • AG

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    Re: Amstel Gold Race
    « Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 03:19 »
    I didnt realise that ... perhaps my judgement is a little harsh.


    Still to be fair - Phil crashed, tore a kidney and still won the race  :P   



    that crash was a just before the moves went off the front - so was still 15km or so before Kwiatkowski bridged.  The gap between those groups ranged from 10 - 20 seconds.

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