Amstel Gold Race to use World championship finish line in 2013
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Amstel Gold Race to use World championship finish line in 2013

by Ben Atkins at 2:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Amstel Gold Race
 
Dutch Classic to end almost 2km beyond Cauberg to offer chance to “more potential winners”

philippe gilbertThe finish line of the Amstel Gold Race is to move two kilometres past the top of the Cauberg climb, to that used at this year’s World championships, Wielerland reports. The Dutch Classic, which is the first of the three big Ardennes races - along with la Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège - has finished on top of the Cauberg, in the town of Valkenburg, since 2003, after switching from the centre of the nearby city of Maastricht; this has often led to the race to simply come down to a flat out race in the final kilometre, much as la Flèche does a few days later on the Mur de Huy.

The 2012 World championships finished in Valkenburg, but the races finished beyond the top of the Cauberg, between the villages of Vilt and Berg en Terblijt, just as they did in 1998. This has largely been due to the extra space required for the World championship tribunes, but has also prevented the race from coming down to a simple hill climb.

This is also the reason that the Amstel Gold Race organisers have chosen to move their finish line, as race director Leo va Vliet explained to Dutch broadcaster NOS.

“With the finish line a little further on there are more potential winners and that’s attractive,” he said.

While the new course does give riders a chance to catch a breakaway that escapes on the climb, it may not make a difference to the overall result. 2010 and 2011 Amstel winner Philippe Gilbert took both victories by virtue of his speed up the final climb; so devastating was his attack in the World championships last year, however, that nobody could chase him down before he hit the finish line to take the rainbow jersey.

Dutch favourite Marianne Vos won the women’s race in identical fashion, but there is some hope for the sprinters, however, as the under-23 men’s, and both junior men and women’s races both finished in small bunch gallops.

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