The 45th edition of the “beer race”, The Amstel Gold, happens this Sunday in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands. The 257km one-day classic race is not one of cycling’s ‘five-monuments’ but it is the biggest race in the Netherlands and if their was a sixth ‘monument’, this, arguably, could be it.
The race doesn’t have the long history that the five monuments have, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Roubaix, De Ronde, Milan – San Remo and Lombardia, but it is a race built and followed with the same passion and enthusiasm. The southern most part of the province of Limburg is geographically distinct from the Ardennes in Belgium, but similar nonetheless. The race is characterized by short, steep and narrow climbs like those found in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Flèche-Wallone. In fact, the race is so similar to the Ardennes classic, that the one week period beginning with Amstel Gold, seeing the Flèche mid-week and ending with L-B-L is referred to as Ardennes week.
The race features a maze-like route winding around the country-side hitting every climb in sight. The route is actually three over-lapping loops and it features 31 climbs such as the wickedly steep Keutenberg at about 21% and the race now ends on the super-steep Caulberg climb. Last year, the race was won by Russian Sergei Ivanov, beating out Dutchman Karsten Kroon on the Caulberg.
This year favorites likely include Robert Gesink, Philippe Gilbert, Andy or Frank Schleck, Joaquin Rodriguez, Luis Leon Sanchez, Karsten Kroon, Cadel Evans and Damiano Cunego whereas Oscar Freire and Carlos Sastre may have an outside chance
Visit the Official Amstel Gold site
View the detailed time schedule here
View the race-day weather forecast
Showing this live @ Giancarlo’s starting at 7am. Note: The finish will be great with the last 6 climbs… starting @ ~ 7:05am with Gulperberg, Kruisberg, Eyserbosweg, Fromberg, Keutenberg and the finish on the Caulberg at about 7:50am.