Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) put forth a valiant performance at last year's Amstel Gold Race, after joining the day's decisive breakaway and then placing fifth in Valkenburg. The American rider wants more this time around, aiming for the podium in a race that she says embodies everything she loves about cycling.
"I had a great race at Amstel last year. I was in the break for 70km and crossed the line in 5th place, completely spent. I’ve been aiming for this race since I crossed the line last year," Ryan said in a team press release.
Ryan will line up with a strong team that includes Alena Amialiusik, Elena Cecchini, Tiffany Cromwell, Lisa Klein, Kasia Niewiadoma. Cecchini noted the challenges of the hilly route and what riders are best suited to it.
"Amstel is an open race that demands a strong, powerful rider from start to finish," Cecchini said. " Last year, a good breakaway went early and stayed away until the finish line. With the evenness amongst teams at the moment, I wouldn't be surprised if the same situation happened."
The women will race 126.8km beginning in Maastricht. There is a 73km loop through the Limburg region that includes the first seven climbs: Slingerberg, Adsteeg, Lang Raaberg, Eyserbowsweg, Fromberg and Keutenberg.
The peloton will then hit the Cauberg for the first time, signifying the start of the 18km final circuits in Valkenburg. They will race three circuits that include the triple climbs: Cauberg (800m/6.5%), Geulhemmerberg (1,000m/5%) and Bemelerberg (900m/4.5%). They will circle the route once more and climb the Cauberg for a fourth and final time, and once over the top, there are 1.6km to the finish.
"I spent a lot of time in the Limburg region as a junior and have many great memories," Ryan said. "The roads are small and technical, the climbs are short and steep—the kind of riding I love most. Amstel combines everything I admire about cycling with an amazing spectator atmosphere."