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Somehow, the first edition went off without a hitch, and in the years following, the race trajectory has been mostly upwards. Since 1989, the race has been part of cycling top tier of events, known by ever shifting names: UCI World Cup (1989 2004), ProTour (2005 2010), and WorldTour (2011 present).
The climbs aren the only difficulty. This is a heavily populated region, with narrow roads and lots of what traffic engineers call calming devices and cyclists call road furniture. Position is key, just like in the cobbled Classics, and the combination of those factors means the risk of crashes increases.
In the first edition, Jean Stablinski won after breaking away with two of his Ford Hutchinson teammates (Bernard van de Kerkhove and Jan Hugens); they finished 1 2 3.
made it possible for a sprinter to win. From 2003 to 2012, the finish was moved to Valkenburg, atop the Cauberg, and then moved again 2km down the road after a very similar course was successfully used for the 2012 World Road Championships.
2014 Amstel Gold Race Review and Guide
The event is in some ways similar to a mountain stage of a Grand Tour. What more, the climbs stack up later in the race, coming about once every 6 or 7 kilometers over the last 100km.
None are longer than a few kilometers (and some are less than half a kilometer) but in the Limburg region of the Netherlands they are steep, and taken together they add up to more than 4,000 meters of climbing over the 251km course.
For such a prestigious event, the Amstel Gold Race had an inauspicious beginning back in 1966. The two hapless promoters, Herman Krott and Ton Vissers, switched start and finish towns in the week leading up to the event and hadn even secured permission to Nike Women Windrunner
Dutch rider Jan Raas holds the record for most victories with five (1977 1980, 1982); the Dutch also own the most victories by nation, with 17.
The Ardennes races are different than the cobbled Classics, relying not on paving stones but on hills to create difficulty. And Amstel has plenty: The course changes slightly year to year, but the 2014 edition has 34 climbs.
Although an early break will certainly go, race watchers should zero in on two crucial moments: First, a pair of climbs with about 40km to go: the Kruisberg (600m, 8.8 percent average) and Eyserbosweg (900m, 9.3 percent). Both surpass 15 percent in spots and are a likely launching pad. Last year it where the decisive selection took place.
According to legend, race cofounder Ton Vissers, a one time amateur team director, was once thrown out of the Tour of Holland when he turned his team car around and drove the wrong way on the course back toward a rider who flatted.
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a roughly 50km meander from the start in Maastricht to the first pass of the finish line in Valkenburg, riders do a series of three gradually tightening loops (the course map looks like a multicolored bowl of spaghetti).
Amstel benefits by being close on the calendar to Li Together with that Monument and the midweek classic Fl Wallonne, Amstel comprises the so called Ardennes Classics.
use all the roads. now, most villages were still independent, said Krott of the struggles to get access. had to visit each town individually to get the licenses.
Amstel Gold Race is not just sponsored by the brewery, it now owned by it, under the Amstel Gold Race Foundation. The race has never had another title sponsor.
Prior to the 2003 edition, the finish was in the flat, riverside town of Maastricht, which Nike Long Sleeve Shirt With Hood
With Alberto Contador off doing cobbles recon for the Tour de France, Tinkoff Saxo Bank Roman Kreuziger gets a free hand to defend his title. But the list of challengers is long. Outside threats are Carlos Betancur (AG2R la Mondiale), who is recovering from a knee injury, Garmin Sharp Tom Jelte Slagter, Sky Peter Kennaugh, and Lampre Damiano Cunego. That not to mention the oldest rider in the race, CCC Polsat 42 year old battle axe Davide Rebellin, a past winner (2004).
The second moment is the pivotal Cauberg, the last climb before the finish. At just 800 meters, it not long, but the steepest section is nearly 13 percent and, this year, riders will ascend the Cauberg four times. The penultimate ascent comes just 21km from the finish. If there still a large group together, riders Nike Windrunner Boys will try to break it open there. If all else fails, there still one final passage of the Cauberg, the summit of which is just 2km from the finish.
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