(Dutch Beer Race) Amstel Gold Race 2021, 216.7k. Sunday.

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Pick the winner.

  • Pidcock / Kwiatkowski

    Votes: 9 11.3%
  • Bagioli / Vansevenant / Alaphilippe

    Votes: 10 12.5%
  • Schachmann / Schelling

    Votes: 3 3.8%
  • van Aert / Roglic

    Votes: 33 41.3%
  • Valverde

    Votes: 5 6.3%
  • Hirschi

    Votes: 2 2.5%
  • Fuglsang

    Votes: 1 1.3%
  • Matthews

    Votes: 2 2.5%
  • Hindsgaul Madsen

    Votes: 3 3.8%
  • All these choices are ridiculous, I'm making my ballot invalid.

    Votes: 12 15.0%

  • Total voters
    80
  • Poll closed .
Yeah quite a few hills in de Ronde are harder than Amstel. The only thing that makes Cauberg interesting is it's location and the steep pinch being right at the start. And in Amstel it's generally the accumulation of hills and the Eyserbosweg/Keutenberg/Kruisberg/Fromberg is proper Ardennes terrain.

There was a Tour stage finishing just after the Cauberg once with not much else and it was a bunch sprint.
There probably have been other finishes after the Cauberg, but in 2006 Kessler won solo and Rogers I think genuinely outsprinted the sprinters left for 2nd.
 
There probably have been other finishes after the Cauberg, but in 2006 Kessler won solo and Rogers I think genuinely outsprinted the sprinters left for 2nd.
That stage came from the south so they actually had some bigger climbs before too. Still a 50 man group 2km after the Cauberg, where obviously a puncheur can stay away from a bunch sprinter cause it's so short.
 
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I'm not sure if the comparisons with the 2012 WC route actually tell us that much. Moving the Cauberg from the finish has completely changed the dynamics of the races with the Kruisberg-Keutenberg section, so I think it's reasonable to expect the same to happen in races without those climbs. Like, let's not forget the snoozefests of 2015 and 2016 happened on routes including that section as well, and they were probably about as dull as the WC. So moving the Cauberg further from the finish seems to have a much bigger impact on improving the race than how hard the climbs 30-40 k from the finish are.
 
I'm not sure if the comparisons with the 2012 WC route actually tell us that much. Moving the Cauberg from the finish has completely changed the dynamics of the races with the Kruisberg-Keutenberg section, so I think it's reasonable to expect the same to happen in races without those climbs. Like, let's not forget the snoozefests of 2015 and 2016 happened on routes including that section as well, and they were probably about as dull as the WC. So moving the Cauberg further from the finish seems to have a much bigger impact on improving the race than how hard the climbs 30-40 k from the finish are.
They're different changes in dynamics tbh.

Moving the finish away from the Cauberg forces the puncheurs to attack so that they don't get beaten in a bunch sprint, so the strongest guys have to go from 30km or more out cuase that's the hardest section.

Now I don't really expect nothing to happen, but I simply doubt the Cauberg is hard enough to create much seperation. There is no one section of the course that's really hard where the carnage will be, so that's why I'm drawing comparisons to other big circuit races like various WCs and the Canadian races. And in these races, the most important characteristic tends to be that the racing doesn't really start until the final lap and before that all you get is secondary and tertiary leaders attacking and making tactical moves.

This isn't a GT stage where you have pure sprinters that can get dropped rather easily too, or where sprinter domestiques have really weak climbing/hilly legs.

The only argument against a larger group sprint for me is simply that Van Aert is too much favored in that and no other team should really fancy it. If this route had a great Van Aert, a great Sagan and Matthews wanting a sprint I'd have seen no way to prevent it.
 
There probably have been other finishes after the Cauberg, but in 2006 Kessler won solo and Rogers I think genuinely outsprinted the sprinters left for 2nd.
To be fair, T-Mobile were absolutely flying (just imagine them with Sevilla and Ulle there!). A bit weird though that Klöden was only the 4th best of the team (beaten by Sinkewitz, lol) in the first long ITT (8th on the stage) and only really found his legs in the Alps.

View: https://youtu.be/Eut_Aq0Jtbw?t=2625


On the top of Cauberg you had the three strongest sprinters in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wheel (Boonen, Freire, and Bennati) behind Boogerd (who was chasing Kessler and Gilbert), so they went pretty deep on the climb. The bunch is stretched out in a long line until Boogerd runs empty and the bunch stalls. So Rogers comes from quite a bit back after an easier ascent than the sprinters in question.
 
To be fair, T-Mobile were absolutely flying (just imagine them with Sevilla and Ulle there!). A bit weird though that Klöden was only the 4th best of the team (beaten by Sinkewitz, lol) in the first long ITT (8th on the stage) and only really found his legs in the Alps.
Klöden had broken his shoulder earlier that year and didn't race for two months.
 
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Yeah quite a few hills in de Ronde are harder than Amstel. The only thing that makes Cauberg interesting is it's location and the steep pinch being right at the start. And in Amstel it's generally the accumulation of hills and the Eyserbosweg/Keutenberg/Kruisberg/Fromberg is proper Ardennes terrain.

There was a Tour stage finishing just after the Cauberg once with not much else and it was a bunch sprint.
I was on the Cauberg watching that day!!
 
DQS: Alaphilippe, Cattaneo, Cavagna, Garrison, Senechal, Serry, Vansevenant.
Ineos: Carapaz, Dunbar, Golas, Kwiatkowski, Pidcock, Rowe, Van Baarle.

Did De Plus got ill/injured during Itzulia? I thought he was supposed to be a leader for the Ardennes.
 
De Plus a leader? With Kwiatkowski and Pidcock in the team, not gonna happen...
"My role will not be as everyone thinks, I have ambition. We agreed with the team that I will still go for the grand tours and ride with the leaders. But in certain races I will be able to take my own chance,” De Plus told De Tribune podcast. “I have indicated that the Ardennes classics are close to my heart. The plan is to be good there and to get a free role.”

From free role to not being selected? Health issues more likely don't you think?
 
Interesting route.

I think because it's so repetitive, it will in many respects become a race similar to what we see at the World Championships (though without the varied team size).

I think the first 50 k will be incredibly hard, as there is 10 climbs available to try and make moves, and more or less every team will want to make the morning break.

With 38 climbs total, it will be very, very difficult for any team to control the race, and we may see favorites having to make moves sooner than normal.
 
My stars for the men:
****Van Aert, Alaphilippe
***Roglic, Fuglsang, Pidcock
**Mollema, Woods, Hirschi, Trentin
*Valverde, Van Avermaet, Kragh Andersen, Schachmann, Matthews, Kwiatkowski

And for the women:
****Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten
***Vos, Longo Borghini, Niewiadoma
**Bastianelli, Uttrup, Vollering, VDB-Blaak
*Lippert, Spratt, Brown, Mackaij
 
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My stars for the men:
****Van Aert, Alaphilippe
***Roglic, Fuglsang, Pidcock
**Mollema, Woods, Hirschi, Trentin
*Valverde, Van Avermaet, Kragh Andersen, Schachmann, Matthews, Kwiatkowski

And for the women:
****Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten
***Vos, Longo Borghini, Niewiadoma
**Bastianelli, Uttrup, Vollering, VDB-Blaak
*Lippert, Spratt, Brown, Mackaij
Oi! Didn't I specifically request that you use these :beermug: instead of just regular stars?
 
With 38 climbs total, it will be very, very difficult for any team to control the race, and we may see favorites having to make moves sooner than normal.
I very much doubt it. There also was an interview with Jelle Vanendert in Het Nieuwsblad today, who regularly trains on those roads, and he said it's too easy. A bit like the 2012 Worlds, but less hard. And shorter. No way to make a selection early on, and therefor also none in that easy finale. His favourite to win is Matthews.

To be fair, Het Nieuwsblad itself seems to disagree, though, as they gave Roglic 5 stars:

* **** Roglic
**** Alaphilippe, van Aert
*** Matthews, Pidcock,Trentin
** Higuita, Hirschi, Schachmann, Valverde
* Benoot, Stuyven, Teuns, van Avermaet, Wellens
 

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