Kasia Niewiadoma will return to the Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition to try and defend her title won in 2019. The Canyon-SRAM leader reiterated what it takes to win a race that could be, once again, decided on the final ascent of the Couberg on Sunday.
“To win you have to have a good team, strong legs, a lot of luck, and committed teammates who are not afraid to race. You have to be alert and attentive for the entire course. Anything can happen on those circuits and there are quite a lot of important moments to be ready for, and to create," Niewiadoma said.
Canyon-SRAM will field a team that also includes Alena Amialiusik, Elise Chabbey, Tiffany Cromwell, Mikayla Harvey and Alexis Ryan.
The women's race will not start in Maastricht due to COVID-19 but instead start at Valkenburg and use a closed circuit. The peloton will contest a slightly shorter 14.9km opening lap, followed by six full laps of a 16.9-kilometre circuits. All circuits feature the Geulhemmerberg, Bemelerberg and Cauberg climbs, for a total of 116.3 kilometres.
“The key is to be smart about when you spend your energy, and be patient,” said Ryan, who finished third at Dwars door Vlaanderen in March. “The new course is a closed circuit with multiple climbs. The climbs will wear you out quickly if you’re poorly positioned. The peloton will be whittled down by the final few laps. It’ll be important for our team to be at the front when attacks are going so we can play our cards for the finish.”
The new route could see a breakaway succeed and Cromwell said she will look to be active but that the race will be much more open than in previous years.
“The new course for Amstel Gold will definitely be a race of attrition, but also can be a successful breakaway course given it’s a tricky lap to be able to create an organised chase on," Cromwell said.
"If a breakaway isn’t successful, then it will be a select group in the final that will only suit those with strong legs and a strong head to be able to put in the big attacks on the same three climbs that we repeat over and over. It’s an open race and a course that will create some interesting and exciting racing."
Niewiadoma heads into the race after renewing her contract with the team for another three seasons. The 26-year-old Pole joined the team in 2018 and has landed victories at Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Amstel Gold Race, and Tour de l'Ardèche, as well as a podium at the Giro Rosa.
When she won Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition in 2019, she attacked over the Cauberg and took the win by a hair ahead of a chasing Annemiek van Vleuten.
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