The Amstel Gold Race kicks off the Ardennes week of WorldTour Classics, with defending champion Philippe Gilbert leading the list of big-name rider in action as he looks for a fourth victory on the roads near his home and where he became world champion in 2012.
This year's Amstel Gold Race is the 50th edition of the Dutch race, and the third since the finish was moved away from the top of the Cauberg and nearly two kilometres down the road. At 258 kilometres long, the Netherlands' biggest one-day race packs a punch with 34 climbs – or bergs – crammed in, making for more than 4,000 metres of climbing. The Cauberg is covered four times and is always important but any winner needs to have excellent form and the right team tactics.
Beginning in Maastricht, the route heads immediately north towards the first ascents of the day, the Slingerberg and Adsteeg, which the riders must tackle after less than 15 kilometres of racing. Once over the Adsteeg, the race begins its move south, with a brief diversion west to take in the Sibbergrubbe before entering a series of ever decreasing circuits.
Philippe Gilbert launches the race winning move on the Cauberg in 2014
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