Etixx – Quick-Step to Amstel Gold Race
The 11th World Tour event of this season is scheduled on Sunday, when the riders will face an up-and-down challenging course.
First held in 1966, the Netherlands' sole Classic will see a new episode unfold this week-end, when 25 teams and 200 riders will come to the start with the goal of making it safely over the narrow roads and punishing climbs, before the final showdown on the iconic Cauberg, a hill which has its prominent place in the history of cycling not only thanks to this race, but also as a result of the key role played at the World Championships and in Grand Tours since 1938.
Starting in Maastricht and finishing in Valkenburg, Amstel Gold Race runs a total of 248.7 kilometers, with the 34 climbs on the route making up for more than 4000 meters of climbing. With less than 3 kilometers to go, the peloton will tackle Cauberg (800 meters, 12% average gradient) for the last time, as the puncheurs will be expected to make their move and try to get a gap before the final 1800 meters, which come over the top of the ascent, on a plateau that can allow the ones who were initially dropped to return at the front.
Coming off a very successful Brabantse Pijl, which saw Petr Vakoč become the first Czech winner in the race's history, Etixx – Quick-Step will line up a strong and motivated team in this star-studded event. The squad will not in any case be short of options on Sunday, as it will include both Vakoč and Julian Alaphilippe, last season's revelations in the Ardennes. Three-time ITT world champion Tony Martin will continue his Classics campaign in the Netherlands, with Bob Jungels, Gianni Meersman, Pieter Serry, Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote also joining the team for the 51st edition of Amstel Gold Race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele