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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 17, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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There's a lot of racing today.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo extends contract with Gesink

The team sent me this note:

WorldTour cycling Team LottoNL-Jumbo extends its contract with star rider Robert Gesink for two more years. Gesink is confident with the team, which arose two years ago with the support of BrandLoyalty.  The long term vision of the team linked to the innovative work of Bianchi and its Aquila, one of the quickest time trial bikes in the peloton, is decisive for Gesink.  

Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink

Sports Director Verhoeven is very pleased with the contract extension of his experienced rider. “With Robert, we have a strong overall rider and a real captain in our team," Verhoeven said. "He is a key factor in our team and a figurehead of Dutch cycling for several years. In fact, with Robert is the leader who's been with our team the longest.
“We’re proud that he chose our plan towards 2018. This season, we established some clear goals for him, with the Ardennes Classics, the Vuelta al País Vasco, the Tour de Suisse, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España."

“I’m very glad to have this security through 2018," explained Gesink, who’s preparing for the Ardennes classics at the moment. "The team made a good plan for the future, both on the sportive and business side. That gives me a lot of confidence.  “It feels like my team, the one which has supported me well for years already. I hope to stay with the best riders in the word, as I did last year in the Tour de France. I want to show some beautiful things in the upcoming years."

Of course Etixx-Quick Step will be at Amstel Gold

Here's the team's update:

The 11th World Tour event of this season is scheduled on Sunday, when the riders will face an up-and-down challenging course.

First held in 1966, the Netherlands' sole Classic will see a new episode unfold this week-end, when 25 teams and 200 riders will come to the start with the goal of making it safely over the narrow roads and punishing climbs, before the final showdown on the iconic Cauberg, a hill which has its prominent place in the history of cycling not only thanks to this race, but also as a result of the key role played at the World Championships and in Grand Tours since 1938.

Starting in Maastricht and finishing in Valkenburg, Amstel Gold Race runs a total of 248.7 kilometers, with the 34 climbs on the route making up for more than 4000 meters of climbing. With less than 3 kilometers to go, the peloton will tackle Cauberg (800 meters, 12% average gradient) for the last time, as the puncheurs will be expected to make their move and try to get a gap before the final 1800 meters, which come over the top of the ascent, on a plateau that can allow the ones who were initially dropped to return at the front.

Petr Vakoc

Petr Vakoc wins the 2015 Brabantse Pijl

Coming off a very successful Brabantse Pijl, which saw Petr Vakoč become the first Czech winner in the race's history, Etixx – Quick-Step will line up a strong and motivated team in this star-studded event. The squad will not in any case be short of options on Sunday, as it will include both Vakoč and Julian Alaphilippe, last season's revelations in the Ardennes. Three-time ITT world champion Tony Martin will continue his Classics campaign in the Netherlands, with Bob Jungels, Gianni Meersman, Pieter Serry, Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote also joining the team for the 51st edition of Amstel Gold Race.

And here's Orica-GreenEdge's Amstel Gold preview:

The Amstel Gold Race takes place this Sunday and is definitely a goal for ORICA-GreenEDGE. Coming directly off the back of Mathew Hayman’s career defining performance in Paris-Roubaix last weekend, the team are hoping to carry the momentum into the Ardennes Classics.

Joint team leaders Michael Matthews and Simon Gerrans have both achieved podium spots here in the past and the talent and experience of both riders will be vitally important for the team in Sunday’s 51st edition.

Sport director Matt White emphasised the fact that the race had been good to the team in the past. “Amstel Gold has been a good hunting ground for us in recent years,” said White. “It marks the start of an exciting period of racing for the team and hopefully we can continue the upward curve on Sunday.”

“We have a really good group of riders for the race, it’s no secret that we have a strong team and are highly motivated, we have more than one option if we make it to the finale in good positions.”

“I’ve been looking at the weather forecast for Sunday,” continued White. “It does not look good, cold and wet conditions throughout the day. If that ends up being the case then it certainly makes the race wide open, this race is highly technical at the best of times.”

“Obviously the Cauberg is one of the key parts of the race, we cover it four times and the final ascent is the important one. It’s simple really, if you want to do anything in this race you have to be well represented throughout the day and have to be in a good position going into the last climb.”

Traditionally marking the transition from the cobbled classics to the Ardennes classics, Amstel Gold Race is well known for the opportunities it provides not just for the fast men but also for the climbers and breakaway specialists alike. First held in 1961, the race is a first category WorldTour race and is the most prestigious one-day event in Dutch bike racing. The route follows 250kilometres through the Dutch countryside starting in Maastricht and finishing in Valkenberg and includes virtually every climb of the Limberg region of Holland.

The whole team followed a busy racing schedule of late and head into Amstel Gold Race with plenty of kilometres in their legs. Michael Albasini, Adam Yates and Chris Juul Jensen come into the squad after racing in the arduous Pais Vasco while Luke Durbridge has competed strongly in all of the Flanders classics races of the last month. South African Daryl Impey spent a large portion of Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl in the breakaway and completes the line up for Sunday’s race.

ORICA-GreenEDGE at Amstel Gold Race (Sunday 17 April): Michael Albasini, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Daryl Impey, Chris Juul Jensen, Michael Matthews, Adam Yates

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