Amstel Gold Race changes finale: 'You have to take riders out of their comfort zone'
Apr 12 2018 01:55 pm CET

Amstel Gold Race changes finale: 'You have to take riders out of their comfort zone'
Amstel Gold Race changes finale: 'You have to take riders out of their comfort zone'
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Unlike the cobbled classics, the Ardennes classics have been about waiting and timing your effort in the final kilometres. Whether it has been for the Cauberg, the Mur de Huy or the climb to Ans, the tactics for these races have been similar with only few exceptions.

However, there is change on the horizon. Last year we saw an attractive Amstel Gold Race and just like a year ago, the final kilometres of the race in the Netherlands have been adjusted. The race directors used the Cauberg as the final climb for years, but this is the second subsequent year that the most famous hill in the country won’t be part of the final kilometres.

"You have to take the riders out of their comfort zone," said race director Leo van Vliet about the new route to Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf. "Teams watch videos of previous years and decide on the tactics to follow based on the races and the situations they saw. For the Amstel Gold Race this meant waiting until the final ascent of the Cauberg, because all actions before were a waste of energy."

Last year the race exploded with 38 kilometres to go, but this doesn't keep the organisers from making another adjustment. "Last year riders commented that the run in to the Bemelerberg (the new final climb of the race) was killing for potential attackers. Chasers had the time and the space to regroup there and organise a chase." Six kilometres of main roads are left out now, as the race takes small country roads instead towards the Bemelerberg. “These small roads will stretch out the peloton, increasing the importance of positioning in the finale. Changes like these increase the opportunities for offensive riders,” concludes Van Vliet.

By Siebe Kok
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