5 riders to watch at 2022 Amstel Gold Race Women

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition will kick off the Ardennes Classics but the date swap with Paris-Roubaix Femmes means that some riders might have to choose between racing the Dutch one-day classic on April 10 or the Hell of the North on April 16.

Amstel Gold Race has traditionally been the first of three events held across one week of racing. This year, it is held one week earlier, while the mid-week La Flèche Wallonne remains held on April 20 and Liège-Bastogne-Liège held on April 24, both in Belgium.

In the absence of defending champion Marianne Vos, who will skip the race to focus on Paris-Roubaix Femmes, Cyclingnews highlights five riders to watch for Amstel Gold Race.

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)

Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Team: Canyon-SRAM
  • Age: 27
  • Race Record: 1st in 2019, 3rd in 2017, 10th in 2021, 29th in 2018 

Kasia Niewiadoma secured the biggest win of her career at the 2019 edition of Amstel Gold Race. It was one of the most memorable finales as she held off Annemiek van Veuten after the Cauberg attack to take the victory.

Niewiadoma returns to the event, having finished twice in the top-10 this early season; 4th at Strade Bianche and 8th at the Tour of Flanders. She is one of the best-suited riders for the Ardennes Classics, and will arguably target all three events, as the team confirmed she is a reserved rider for next week's Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

This year, back to its traditional route, after being held only on the final circuits last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, watch for Niewiadoma to recreate that notable 2019 victory in Valkenburg.

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Team: Movistar
  • Age: 39
  • Race Record: 2nd in 2019, 3rd in 2021, 4th in 2017, 15th in 2018 

Annemiek van Vleuten targets the Amstel Gold Race every year because she is well-suited to the Ardennes Classics and the race is on home soil.

Yet, despite an illustrious career with numerous victories, the home sports celebrity has never won the Amstel Gold Race. In previous years at Orica-GreenEdge/Mitchelton-Scott, Van Vleuten formed a two-pronged approach with Amanda Spratt. Still, in last year's edition, she was the sole leader for Movistar, only managing third place in a reduced sprint won by Marianne Vos, with Demi Vollering in second.

This year, Van Vleuten comes into the race in excellent form, having recently finished second at the Tour of Flanders. The team will have more depth, too, with Emma Norsgaard and Arlenis Sierra, who finished fourth in Flanders. This could be the year that Van Vleuten wins Amstel Gold Race.

Demi Vollering (SD Worx)

Demi Vollering (SD Worx)

Demi Vollering (SD Worx) (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Team: SD Worx
  • Age: 25
  • Race Record: 2nd in 2021, 7th in 2019

Demi Vollering's trajectory in the Women's WorldTour has been remarkable since her debut at the big races in 2019 with Parkhotel Valkenburg and her transfer to SD Worx in 2021.

At Amstel Gold Race, Vollering went from 7th place in 2019 to 2nd place last year. This year, she planned to focus on the Ardennes Classics and has a powerful SD Worx team to support her endeavours with Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, recently 3rd at Tour of Flanders, and strong climbers Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Niamh Fisher-Black. The team also has Marlen Reusser and Blanka Vas, who makes her debut in the 2022 road season.

Vollering's ability to climb with the best and sprint when it counts puts her in good standings for a parcours like Amstel Gold Race. And if SD Worx's dominant display at Tour of Flanders that netted Lotte Kopecky the win is any indication, watch for multiple riders to crest the Cauberg and land on the podium in Valkenburg. 

Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo)

Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo)

Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Team: Trek-Segafredo
  • Age: 35
  • Race Record: 10th in 2017, 25th in 2018, 36th in 2019

Time trial world champion and road race European Champion Ellen van Dijk's track record at her home Amstel Gold Race hasn't appeared to be stellar. Still, she has played a remarkable support role for her previous team, Sunweb, and current squad, Trek-Segafredo.

Indeed, this year, she has been a key player in world champion Elisa Balsamo's victories at Brugge-De Panne, Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Gent-Wevelgem, often one of the last riders, along with Elisa Longo Borghini, in the finals.

Longo Borghini was meant to lead the team at Amstel Gold Race but was sidelined due to illness. Balsamo could assume that role should the race come down to a reduced sprint. We pick Van Dijk as a dark-horse late-race attacker, and if she can make it over the Cauberg, she has the power to hold off a chase on the run-in to Valkenburg.

Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope)

Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope)

Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Team: FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
  • Age: 24
  • Race Record: 33rd in 2019, 83rd in 2021

In the absence of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Grace Brown, Marta Cavalli will likely step into the leadership role for FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at Amstel Gold Race.

The three riders planned to tackle the Spring Classics as a three-pronged approach before assuming separate leadership roles in the summer stage races. However, Uttrup Ludwig and Brown, who recently raced in Flanders, will not line up in Maastricht. 

Cavalli has the punch to tackle the late-race Cauberg with the best climbers, and this could be her moment to shine in the Women's WorldTour. She will also have the on-form Brodie Chapman, who has animated the races in long-range breakaways at Dwars door Vlaanderen and Tour of Flanders, where she also finished 9th.

Last year, Uttrup Ludwig and Cavalli keyed off of one another in most of the races. At Amstel Gold Race, watch for Chapman and Cavalli to take the same approach. It might end up being the winning combination for the French team.

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Kirsten Frattini
Deputy Editor

Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.

Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.

She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.