Organisers of the Amstel Gold Pro Tour race have awarded one of two wild card entries to the Shimano - Memory Corp Professional Cycling Team, the Netherland's only Pro Continental team.
Slated for April 17 this year, Shimano - Memory Corp's participation enables the team's captain, German Stefan Schumacher, to compete with the world's best riders in one of the world's biggest one-day events. For the Japanese riders in the team, the Amstel Gold will be their first acquaintance with an event of the highest level, and for the young Dutch riders, participation in the 40th edition of the youngest of the Spring Classics is obviously of great value for their development.
Naturally, the team is ecstatic with the decision, and are motivated to race in their home country. The Amstel Gold is one of three ProTour races that shall take place in the Netherlands this year, the other two being the team time trial in Eindhoven on June 19 and some stage of Benelux Tour, to be held from August 3-10, 2005. Last year's winner was Davide Rebellin, who went on to a historic triplet of victories after winning both La Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège, all in the space of a week.