52nd Amstel Gold Race - April 16 - 261km

On Sunday, the cycling world will be all eyes on Limburg with the 52nd edition of the Amstel Gold Race.
This could be interesting as attacks for big guns will be coming from the Cauberg climb which would crest 19 km out and an elite group of favorites may form. Bemelerberg will be the ultimate climb which is 7.3km from the finish line

This is the first time this year we will have the showdown between Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski and Valverde.





There are 35 hills in all so this would be a test for the riders. Not to mention that length that's why many are saying that this could be cycling's 6th monument.


Last year we saw Enrico Gasparotto edge out Michael Valgren for this second win in AGR.


1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 6:18:02
2 Michael Valgren (Den) Tinkoff Team
3 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:04
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida
8 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
9 Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
 
Not a big fan of the new finish. Looks like a guaranteed mass sprint between the punchy sprinters. GVA for the win, depending on his recovery from Sunday. Otherwise Matthews or Colbrelli.

I hope Gilbert, Kwiato, Alaphilippe and Valverde try to blow the race apart a bit before the finish, in which case we could have a good race. I don't think they have a chance of winning it from a bunch sprint against the guys mentioned above with Cauberg being so far from the finish. Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg don't look selective enough.
 
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Saint Unix said:
Not a big fan of the new finish. Looks like a guaranteed mass sprint between the punchy sprinters. GVA for the win, depending on his recovery from Sunday. Otherwise Matthews or Colbrelli.

I hope Gilbert, Kwiato, Alaphilippe and Valverde try to blow the race apart a bit before the finish, in which case we could have a good race. I don't think they have a chance of winning it from a bunch sprint against the guys mentioned above with Cauberg being so far from the finish. Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg don't look selective enough.
But when glancing at the profile, it doesn't exactly look like a guaranteed bunch sprint. Constant hills through 260 kilometres really should be sufficient for a hard race. But, of course, we always have got a massive bunch going up the Cauberg in recent years.

Now that the finale has changed, I would think that especially QuickStep and Movistar are going to try to wreak havoc early. And that's an exciting prospect. Because with this route, there is no good reason as to why this shouldn't be a hell of a race.
 
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tobydawq said:
But when glancing at the profile, it doesn't exactly look like a guaranteed bunch sprint. Constant hills through 260 kilometres really should be sufficient for a hard race. But, of course, we always have got a massive bunch going up the Cauberg in recent years.

Now that the finale has changed, I would think that especially QuickStep and Movistar are going to try to wreak havoc early. And that's an exciting prospect. Because with this route, there is no good reason as to why this shouldn't be a hell of a race.
I hope you're right. AGR and FW are in dire need of change. Both races have been waiting games until Cauberg and Mur de Huy in recent years, so maybe making the finish here easier will liven up the race by forcing the riders who aren't fast enough in a sprint to make their moves earlier. I'm still sceptical, though. I guess it's up to the riders to prove me wrong. Hopefully Gilbert still feels super strong like in De Ronde. He's the type of rider who is willing to initiate a break far from the line. I don't trust Valverde or Kwiatkowski to try anything like that, and GVA can win both from a break and a sprint, so he doesn't actually need to split the field.
 
I think the new route will lead to better racing. That said, I don't think the race will be great but it really can hardly get worse than in the last years. I think the biggest problem of this new route is that the really steep climbs like the Kruisberg, the Eyserbosweg and the Keuteberg are really far away from the finish. Yeah, guys who don't have a good sprint have to go earlier than usually but I don't know if they will be willing to attack with 30-40 kilometers to go.
 
The route could be great if they ditched the money and went for a route without the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg.

Kruisberg, Eyserbosweg, Fromberg, Keutenberg, Cauberg and the finish on the local of this year -> Perfect
 
If Geschke gets dropped early, there is no more domestiques for Matthews who are good on the flat. Barguil, Kelderman and Oomen are not really motors on the flat.

Orica will do everything to put Gerrans up for Sprint. They have a team to do this. Any two of Impey, Albasini and Hayman will be there to chase the Cauberg breakaway. I do not see any team working to bring back the late escapees
 
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Asero831 said:
If Geschke gets dropped early, there is no more domestiques for Matthews who are good on the flat. Barguil, Kelderman and Oomen are not really motors on the flat.

Orica will do everything to put Gerrans up for Sprint. They have a team to do this. Any two of Impey, Albasini and Hayman will be there to chase the Cauberg breakaway. I do not see any team working to bring back the late escapees
Movistar have the team to bring back breaks if they need to, but with their lineup it's hard to see them not being able to put riders in the moves. As for Matthews, his team should be fine on a rolling course like this.

I find it hard to go past the likes of Valverde, Matthews, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski and Coquard on this course. Between their individual form and their teams they are the main animators for me. If the race isn't hard, Matthews will be the man judging by his TT earlier this week.
 
Apr 12, 2015
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Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
tobydawq said:
But when glancing at the profile, it doesn't exactly look like a guaranteed bunch sprint. Constant hills through 260 kilometres really should be sufficient for a hard race. But, of course, we always have got a massive bunch going up the Cauberg in recent years.

Now that the finale has changed, I would think that especially QuickStep and Movistar are going to try to wreak havoc early. And that's an exciting prospect. Because with this route, there is no good reason as to why this shouldn't be a hell of a race.
I hope you're right. AGR and FW are in dire need of change. Both races have been waiting games until Cauberg and Mur de Huy in recent years, so maybe making the finish here easier will liven up the race by forcing the riders who aren't fast enough in a sprint to make their moves earlier. I'm still sceptical, though. I guess it's up to the riders to prove me wrong. Hopefully Gilbert still feels super strong like in De Ronde. He's the type of rider who is willing to initiate a break far from the line. I don't trust Valverde or Kwiatkowski to try anything like that, and GVA can win both from a break and a sprint, so he doesn't actually need to split the field.
I think it's fine that there is a race like that. Mur De Huy is almost iconic for that reason. Some races need an uphill finish.

Liege-Bastonge-Liege on the other hand.. That race really needs a new finish. La Redoute is supposed to be the mythic climb in that race.
 
Apr 12, 2015
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Based on his results in Pais Vasco and lack of Sagan, Jay McCarthy has to be one of the favorites.

Jay McCarthy is made for Amstel Gold Race and can beat almost everyone (even Matthews) in a sprint.
 
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Velolover2 said:
Based on his results in Pais Vasco and lack of Sagan, Jay McCarthy has to be one of the favorites.

Jay McCarthy is made for Amstel Gold Race and can beat almost everyone (even Matthews) in a sprint.
The problem is that there will always be someone that will be faster than him.
 
Apr 12, 2015
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Netserk said:
The best change FW could do is to remove Cherave. I think it spoils Huy and makes it more of a grind.
Yeah. Mur de Huy is actually made for attacks. Andy Schleck and Contador have animated the climb before. Cherave ruins that.
 
Apr 12, 2015
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I wonder if this race would have been more anarchic with a 6-man team.

The riders are too afraid to attack. Based on his long rage attacks this year, I'm pretty sure Gilbert will at least try something a bit earlier out. Maybe on Cauberg? They can always have Phillipe for the sprint.
 
I'm in the minority in that I like the current Cauberg finish a lot and hope they revert to it in future. If there was a problem it was with the rest of the finale (which is still mostly there). Anyway this new finish should prove what is possible. If multiple favourites move 20-30 km out and it sticks then it just shows that they should have been doing that all along since Cauberg only makes it more likely they would stay away, not less likely.
 
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Eyeballs Out said:
I'm in the minority in that I like the current Cauberg finish a lot and hope they revert to it in future. If there was a problem it was with the rest of the finale (which is still mostly there). Anyway this new finish should prove what is possible. If multiple favourites move 20-30 km out and it sticks then it just shows that they should have been doing that all along since Cauberg only makes it more likely they would stay away, not less likely.
But the problem is that the biggest favorites who will benefit from going from distance this year have normally just been waiting for the Cauberg because they might as well; it was their territory and where they could decide the race (I'm talking about riders such as Valverde, Gilbert, Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski). Why should they go from afar in the past? No reason. Now they have plenty of reasons.

Maybe it wouldn't have been less likely to stay away because of the Cauberg but all things considered, it would have been less likely to win by going from the distance in the past than succeeding by waiting for the Cauberg.
 
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tobydawq said:
Eyeballs Out said:
I'm in the minority in that I like the current Cauberg finish a lot and hope they revert to it in future. If there was a problem it was with the rest of the finale (which is still mostly there). Anyway this new finish should prove what is possible. If multiple favourites move 20-30 km out and it sticks then it just shows that they should have been doing that all along since Cauberg only makes it more likely they would stay away, not less likely.
But the problem is that the biggest favorites who will benefit from going from distance this year have normally just been waiting for the Cauberg because they might as well; it was their territory and where they could decide the race (I'm talking about riders such as Valverde, Gilbert, Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski). Why should they go from afar in the past? No reason. Now they have plenty of reasons.

Maybe it wouldn't have been less likely to stay away because of the Cauberg but all things considered, it would have been less likely to win by going from the distance in the past than succeeding by waiting for the Cauberg.
No, it has been increasingly the case that the sprinter climbers have been getting closer and closer. Matthews should have won two years ago (?) but made the mistake of trying to follow Gilbert and it was still a group sprint won by Kwiatkowski. We've seen the likes of Coquard and Colbrelli come close. If it becomes obvious that they can leave those guys behind (or at least isolate them in a favourites group) then there is every reason not to wait for Cauberg
 

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