New Amstel Gold Route

The organisers of the Amstel Gold Race have made drastic change to the race route for 2017, with the decisive Cauberg climb removed from the race’s finale.

The Cauberg climb has played a vital role in the race since it was introduced to the finale of the race in 2003, and although the race finish will remain in the same place in 2017, the Cauberg will be climbed for the last time with 19km to go.

However there will still be a hilly finale to the race, with a final circuit containing the climbs of the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg, before a flat finishing sprint.


Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/racing/drastic-changes-made-amtel-gold-race-route-decisive-climb-removed-finale-311597#cksgUASyCT402OQK.99
Congrats to Mr Sagan on his win.
 
Jul 6, 2016
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Hell no that he could win that easy when aiming for Flanders and Roubaix. He could try, of course, but it will be interesting. Good decision, wise decision. Finally.
 
It was getting a bit stale. Other races should try different routes as well but the Amstel changes set it up for Sagan, Matthews and Gerrans nicely and they were riders that featured usually anyway. Not so good for the Gasparotto type riders, not so good for Valverde either who would want a harder finish.
 
Jul 6, 2016
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movingtarget said:
It was getting a bit stale. Other races should try different routes as well but the Amstel changes set it up for Sagan, Matthews and Gerrans nicely and they were riders that featured usually anyway. Not so good for the Gasparotto type riders, not so good for Valverde either who would want a harder finish.
Good luck for their teams then keeping the pack together, let alone setting up a decent sprint.
 
Had been a good change almost no matter what they did. Anyways, good to see the organizers do something a race that clearly needed something else. Should make it more interesting, at least the first years with these parcours.
 
Oct 31, 2016
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Sagan's spring classic season doesn't include the Amstel, so don't worry about him.

I think i'ts a nice move to shake things up a little bit after last year disapointing race. Nowadays, teams have more powerful riders that's why a lot of races finish with a bunch sprint.

La Flèche and LBL have to do the same and make some new changes to their parcours. Organisers can even change them every year so the riders will have a harder time to figure it out !
 
I don't know if this is the perfect solution, but considering how awful the last editions were they had to change something. Now the question is if the easy finale will really encourage long range attacks or if the race will become even more dull and end in a bunch sprint.
 
Re:

Scarponi said:
These races need harder parcours ( more climbs close to the line ) and less team members. 6-7 members won't chase down the main riders in 5 climbs in the final 20km no matter how strong
As we've seen in the past few years, hard climbs near the end will often just make teams sit and wait around for a glorified bunch sprint up the last hill. When every team has an Ardennes rider, they all believe they can get a good result the same way.

I welcome this change. A lot of times we've seen great races where the obstacles were far from the finish. I think there are enough strong punchers in great shape for Amstel (and more importantly, many teams) who just won't wait for a sprint they're bound to lose. It of course depends on the mid-section of the route being hard enough to allow the race to break up, but I think it could be.
 
Re:

Scarponi said:
These races need harder parcours ( more climbs close to the line ) and less team members. 6-7 members won't chase down the main riders in 5 climbs in the final 20km no matter how strong
No doubt, teams have to become smaller.
But besides that I'm not sure I agree with you. A hard finale has the advantage that you basically always have action there, but the disadvantage that nothing happens before that. Would the Ronde become a better race if the finish line was directly after the paterberg? No it wouldn't, because attacks from far out wouldn't be necessary if you can win by being the strongest on one single, short ascent. The same happened in the Amstel Gold Race in the last years, since nobody wanted to try long range attacks because why should you take risks when you can as well attack on the cauberg 3 k's from the finish.
The question is though, if the new finale is too easy and if the climbs earlier aren't hard enough to cause an early selection. If thats the case, the race might become even worse.
 
Re: Re:

Gigs_98 said:
Scarponi said:
These races need harder parcours ( more climbs close to the line ) and less team members. 6-7 members won't chase down the main riders in 5 climbs in the final 20km no matter how strong
No doubt, teams have to become smaller.
But besides that I'm not sure I agree with you. A hard finale has the advantage that you basically always have action there, but the disadvantage that nothing happens before that. Would the Ronde become a better race if the finish line was directly after the paterberg? No it wouldn't, because attacks from far out wouldn't be necessary if you can win by being the strongest on one single, short ascent. The same happened in the Amstel Gold Race in the last years, since nobody wanted to try long range attacks because why should you take risks when you can as well attack on the cauberg 3 k's from the finish.
The question is though, if the new finale is too easy and if the climbs earlier aren't hard enough to cause an early selection. If thats the case, the race might become even worse.
And to make things even worse a parcours can have an epic finish which convinces the organises to stick with it and the next three years equal a reduced sprint. I don't envy the decisions, there is not a single answer
 
Jun 11, 2014
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Great decision.

This manouvre saves FW in the same move - as it will be the only HTF in a much more variated cobbles/ardennes calender - especially if they also make the lead in to Huy harder.

Now we just need to sort out the LBL enigma - and make Redoute the schwerpunkt again.
 
The problem in recent years is that the stupid circuit with Geulhemmerweg and the Bemelerberg was there so that the climbs like Eyserbosweg and Keutenberg that were tough enough to be quite decisive were too far away from the finish for anybody to be tempted to use them for that. The teams are strong enough to control things on the more or less rolling circuit, so the only climb on the final circuit hard enough to create gaps is the Cauberg itself, and so it was inevitable people would wait until the final climb of it. Bemelerberg is not going to drop any puncheur worth their salt even after 250k. Keutenberg will. Giving us more of the crappy circuit with its non-decisive climbs isn't going to make people attack harder on the Cauberg because the rest of the circuit is too flat for it to be likely to succeed.

Really, the 2012 Worlds weren't actually all that good, and the only positive it brought for AGR was the moving of the finish to its 2013-16 location which meant it wasn't the same as Flèche but on a less steep climb.

I don't think we should be pandering to the tendency to stick all the decisive stuff at the very end and make this a one-climb race as it was for a few years, but I do think that the way riders currently behave should factor into the race organizers' parcours considerations. They need to incentivize racing from further out, and it's a balancing act. If the worthwhile obstacles are too close to the finish, everybody waits for them. But if they're not close enough to the finish for people to believe a move can make it, the only attempts to race it will be half-hearted.

I'm also very disappointed because this is the first year with a women's Amstel Gold for a while, and they've decided that this is the year to NOT make it a proper puncheur's race and instead make it very similar in character to about 50% of the Women's World Tour, when the lack of real races for climbers was one of the biggest criticisms levied at the inaugural World Tour... not to mention that installing this race nearly killed one of the biggest mountainous stage races on the calendar.
 
I'm in doubt about the new route. The main problem is that the Keutenberg is 28.8km out and after that there's 10km of nothing before the last Cauberg. The peloton needs to be fractured then otherwise a bunch sprint is not out of question. I do welcome the change though, but I would've liked climbs like the Keutenberg a little big closer to the finish.
 
I get what the organisers are trying to do here, but I suspect that the Cauberg 19kms from the finish is too far for teams to do anything but try and shed the sprinters and hold the gap. Versatile riders with a fast finish like Matthews, Sagan, GVA, Gerrans and Meersman will have an even better chance of winning and this may even bring riders like Greipel, Degenkolb, Cav and Gaviria into the picture. The days of wins like Gasparotto's and Kreuziger's have probably come to an end.

The finish still needs to be close enough to the hills to encourage attacking, 6-10kms out would be better IMO
 
Re:

sQiD said:
Sagan's spring classic season doesn't include the Amstel, so don't worry about him.

I think i'ts a nice move to shake things up a little bit after last year disapointing race. Nowadays, teams have more powerful riders that's why a lot of races finish with a bunch sprint.

La Flèche and LBL have to do the same and make some new changes to their parcours. Organisers can even change them every year so the riders will have a harder time to figure it out !
I think a change is a good idea, but I'm not sure about the change they've actually made. Presumably the intent is to encourage longer range attacks, but it could go wrong and end up creating a reduced sprint finish.

I don't think that changing Flèche is a good idea. As it is everything is irrelevant bar the charge up the Mur, but that fact is part of what makes it prestigious. All of the best punchers, all in top form, one hill, let's see who is the strongest. Having many races that always come down to a single hill is boring, but the Fleche is the queen of such races and has been for decades.
 
Re: Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
sQiD said:
Sagan's spring classic season doesn't include the Amstel, so don't worry about him.

I think i'ts a nice move to shake things up a little bit after last year disapointing race. Nowadays, teams have more powerful riders that's why a lot of races finish with a bunch sprint.

La Flèche and LBL have to do the same and make some new changes to their parcours. Organisers can even change them every year so the riders will have a harder time to figure it out !
I think a change is a good idea, but I'm not sure about the change they've actually made. Presumably the intent is to encourage longer range attacks, but it could go wrong and end up creating a reduced sprint finish.

I don't think that changing Flèche is a good idea. As it is everything is irrelevant bar the charge up the Mur, but that fact is part of what makes it prestigious. All of the best punchers, all in top form, one hill, let's see who is the strongest. Having many races that always come down to a single hill is boring, but the Fleche is the queen of such races and has been for decades.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Flèche should absolutely keep the Mur finale. I'm not tuning in for all of MSR or the final stage of the Tdf either, but no way I'm missing those finales.
 
Re: Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
sQiD said:
Sagan's spring classic season doesn't include the Amstel, so don't worry about him.

I think i'ts a nice move to shake things up a little bit after last year disapointing race. Nowadays, teams have more powerful riders that's why a lot of races finish with a bunch sprint.

La Flèche and LBL have to do the same and make some new changes to their parcours. Organisers can even change them every year so the riders will have a harder time to figure it out !
I think a change is a good idea, but I'm not sure about the change they've actually made. Presumably the intent is to encourage longer range attacks, but it could go wrong and end up creating a reduced sprint finish.

I don't think that changing Flèche is a good idea. As it is everything is irrelevant bar the charge up the Mur, but that fact is part of what makes it prestigious. All of the best punchers, all in top form, one hill, let's see who is the strongest. Having many races that always come down to a single hill is boring, but the Fleche is the queen of such races and has been for decades.
I think they are bit limited with how much they can change the Fleche but of course the finale has to stay the same. They have tinkered with Liege over the years but MSR has also been pretty predictable. The Lombardy changes have not spoilt the racing.
 
Re: Re:

Zinoviev Letter said:
sQiD said:
Sagan's spring classic season doesn't include the Amstel, so don't worry about him.

I think i'ts a nice move to shake things up a little bit after last year disapointing race. Nowadays, teams have more powerful riders that's why a lot of races finish with a bunch sprint.

La Flèche and LBL have to do the same and make some new changes to their parcours. Organisers can even change them every year so the riders will have a harder time to figure it out !
I think a change is a good idea, but I'm not sure about the change they've actually made. Presumably the intent is to encourage longer range attacks, but it could go wrong and end up creating a reduced sprint finish.

I don't think that changing Flèche is a good idea. As it is everything is irrelevant bar the charge up the Mur, but that fact is part of what makes it prestigious. All of the best punchers, all in top form, one hill, let's see who is the strongest. Having many races that always come down to a single hill is boring, but the Fleche is the queen of such races and has been for decades.
In fact, I think the penultimate climb has ruined it a bit.
 
Awful route. Only factors like mass crashes or real shitty weather could prevent this from ending up in a mass sprint. The should rather bring back Keutenberg as the second last climb. A finish like this would be much more interesting:

- Kruisberg: 20 km from finish
- Eyserbosweg: 18 km
- Fromberg: 14 km:
- Keutenberg: 10 km:
- Cauberg: 0 km and race finish

The new loop they have added the last years is a freakin disaster. If they don't want to finish at Cauberg, they could move the finish a few km from the top of Cauberg, but the loop with Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg should be dropped.

Climbs like Kruisberg, Eyserbosweg and Keutenberg is tough enough to be the point of a descive attack, but not placed 30-40 km from the race finish. Move them closer to the finish like suggested above, and it would be much larger chance of something happening before hitting Cauberg.
 
I must say that I prefer the new finish line to that at the top of Cauberg, but I agree that the last loop is garbage.

I wouldn't mind to see one year where they did as above, but without Cauberg, so the last few kms as of this year, but with Keutenberg as the last climb.
 

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