Archive for April 18th, 2021

PEZ Rides The Amstel Gold CycloSportif

04/18/2021 12:02
amstel

Normally this Saturday in Valkenburg Holland, maybe the largest cyclo-sportif event associated with any European Classic, the Amstel Gold Cylcosportif would be run, but covid has put a stop to that mass event. The Pez was lucky enough to join the 18,000 plus throng back in 2007, and it was quite a day.

amstel
The suns was shining, but even on a cooler night, the café patios were the place to be in Maastricht.

My trip to the Ardennes Classics was my much awaited chance to finally take in the racing and riding that makes up the second half of the Spring monuments. I’d been to Roubaix & Flanders a couple years before, and was keen to notch off the Amstel Gold, Fleche-Wallone, and Liege–Bastogne-Liege in my collection of races I’ve seen.

After some negotiation on the home front, my travel plans were approved my Mrs. Pez and I was on my way. (Yes, that might have been laughable in the days before I was a dad, but you fathers out there know what I’m talking about…)

Velo Classic Tours had us staying in the beautiful Dutch town of Maastricht – which is a great place to experience the great riding of the area and also just a few kms from the Amstel Gold start and finish in Valkenburg. But it’s also a very hip town that’s clean, full of cafes, restaurants and shops, and filled with some very nice looking Dutch ladies if I do say so…

amstel

The Amstel Gold Race circuit loops around the hilly Limburg region and actually passes through Valkenburg and up the finishing climb of the Cauberg three times. The loops are color-coded so the navigationally challenged don’t lose one of the 1000’s of wheels (literally) in front of them.

We rolled out from the hotel to join the CycloSportif ride at 9AM, and although there was an option to go straight to the ‘official’ start in Valkenburg, we were happy to join the ride ‘in progress’ where we intersected it a few kms in…

amstel
Maastricht is an excellent place to set base camp.

I’d heard this was a ‘well attended’ event, but I’d never seen 18,000 cyclists in action, let alone ridden with them… and the endless snake of cyclists already eagerly tearing up the route was at once a sight to behold, and cause for some wisely chosen extra caution.

amstel

We turned into the heavy flow of riders like so many salmon jumping into the spawn – the road was narrow – not much more than a bike path at this point, and there were riders everywhere… literally. It was like the biggest traffic jam of bikes I’d ever seen.

amstel

We were on for the 150km route, and about an hour in came upon our first road blockage traffic stand still, which turned out to be the first feed stop as well. I paid witness once again to the popularity of this ride as I could see literally hundreds of riders funneling like grains of sand through an hour glass toward the tables of bars, drinks, cakes and … waffles (albeit pre-packaged).

amstel

One thing about getting a group of riders this big together is that you just cant avoid but getting all types – fast guys, slow guys, race bikes, mountain bike and junk bikes… I felt like I was in a Dr. Suess story…

Something else about the Amstel Gold Cyclo ride – it seemed the roads were not actually closed to cars… and more than once I almost ricocheted off some jerk-wad’s bumper as he tore straight at the oncoming horde like maniac hell-bent on splattering his windscreen with so much squished lycra… I wondered if they’d imported some drivers from back home to give the normally well-behaved European drivers a bad name…

amstel

But soon enough we got into the flow of the ride. The jitters and excitement of the opening kms mellowed, and I began to notice how gorgeous the countryside here really is.

Rolling hills, green pastures, oil-on-canvas villages, even concrete bunkers left over from World War II.

The best part of the ride really is the countryside, and for us race fans it was also a treat to ride the actual Amstel Gold Race course. The circuit is a mix of pristine Dutch countryside, the plethora of ‘bergs that define the race itself, and a few sections of unpleasant and boring roadway used simply to connect the various bergs.

amstel
Riders can choose 6 routes, ranging from 60km to the full 250km escapade. This is the 150km course we chose.

And forget about a quiet ride through the country – you’re never without company on this one. The “come one, come all’ participation of the local riders means you’ll want to be attentive at all times, but that there’s also always someone new to meet – we even bumped into some fans from Spain up for the weekend.

Riding the race defining hills was the best part for me – and like a lot of you I love testing myself on the famous climbs and roads like the real champions of cycling have done for a hundred years before me…

amstel

The course mixes climbs that are a joy to ride with some that seem simply there to connect a dot and add another stat to the parcours. There are 31 on the official route – we climbed a 13 of them on the 150km ride.

amstel

Taken individually, none are that tough – they’re mostly around 1 km or less in length. A few have some steep pitches that go close to 20% like the Keutenberg.

amstel

By the time we arrived at the finish on the Cauberg, there were so many people already waiting to pass through the official time gate and collect their swag, that we were forced to stop and walk the final few hundred meters… Pete Easton of VCT and I opted to bypass the hour long procession and head straight for a celebratory brewski at on of the pubs at the base of the Cauberg.

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amstel

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amstel
Maastricht – I caught site of this pedal-powered rolling beer dispenser and couldn’t help but wish they had an open seat…

 

The post PEZ Rides The Amstel Gold CycloSportif appeared first on PezCycling News.


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Amstel’87 – A Gold Race Photo Gallery!

04/18/2021 0:04
amstel87 sgapiro

PeloPics: Just over 30 years ago, back in the late 80s, the 7-Eleven team from the US and Britain’s ANC-Halfords squad were still a bit of a novelty. We take a retro look at the Amstel Gold Race Dutch Classic in 1987 through the lens of Cor Vos.

Ed Hood talked to 3rd placed Malcolm Elliott about the race HERE.

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Joop ZOETEMELK   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Joop Zoetemelk was the ‘surprise’ winner in 1987

In the finalé of Amstel’87, three Dutchmen joined forces to make sure Malcolm Elliott of the ANC team would not win their Classic. Joop Zoetemelk (Superconfex), Steven Rooks (PDM) and Teun Van Vliet (Panasonic) worked together to either tire Elliott or allow one of them to escape for the win. Joop Zoetemelk took the win ahead of Rooks, with Elliott in third. Van Vliet was fourth with break away companion Bruno Cornillet (Z-Peugeot) in fifth as Phil Anderson brought in the peloton over a minute and a half down. Zoetemelk had eased himself away from the others three kilometres from the finish in Meersen in a similar style that he won the 1985 world championships.

The decisive move of the race came after 175 of the 242 kilometres, Gerard Veldscholten (PDM), Nico Verhoeven (Superconfex) and Eddy Planckaert (Panasonic) opened a near 2 minute lead. They were caught by a nine-man group that included Anderson, his Panasonic team-mate Allan Peiper and Zoetemelk. More riders came over to the front group to make it 25 up front and Malcolm Elliott was amongst them. Cornillet attacked, splitting the group and Elliott was there with Anderson, Van Vliet, Zoetemelk and Ludo Peeters (Superconfex). Eric Van Lancker and Theo De Rooy of Panasonic joined them along with Adrie Van der Poel (PDM) making it 13. 17 kilometres to go and Verhoeven made his bid, only to be caught. As they crested the summit of the Cauberg climb; Rooks, Van Vliet, Elliott and Zoetemelk went clear and only Cornillet could join them. Van Vliet was next to attack to force Elliott to counter, but this set the scene for Zoetemelk’s bold move. Rooks went clear to finish second, 29 seconds down. Elliott, in third place, took four-seconds out of Het Volk winner Van Vliet.

Elliott was the first home-sponsored British pro to get into the first three in a classic and ANC-Halfords had three other finishers; Bernard Chesneau was 12th, Adrian Timmis 40th and Chris Lillywhite 63rd of the 70 riders who crossed the finish line in Meersen.

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Henk LUBBERDING   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Panasonic’s Henk Lubberdink was a class act – Turned pro for Peter Post in 1977 and stayed with him his whole career until his retirement in 1992 after 58 victories. Lubberding owned a farm in Voorst, Netherlands and worked on it even when he was racing

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Alan - Allan PEIPER   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Australian Allan Peiper – Pro for 10 years, stopping in 1992. Since 2005 Peiper has worked for Davitamon Lotto, T-Mobile, High Road, Columbia-High Road, HTC-Columbia, HTC-High Road and Garmin-Sharp as a Sport Director and BMC as a Sporting Manager. Now in 2020 he is with UAE Team Emirates

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Adrie - Adri VAN DER POEL   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Adrie van der Poel was 9th in Amstel’87, but won in 1990. You add to that: Flanders, Liege, Brabantse Pijl, San Sebastian, Paris-Brussel, Paris-Tours and the Scheldeprijs. Throw in a cyclocross World championship and father to Mathieu and David

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Rudy DHAENENS  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Rudy Dhaenens was World champion in 1990, apart from that had a modest palmarès, but was a strong team rider. Dhaenens died in 1998 at the age of 37 in a car crash on his way to the finish of the Tour of Flanders where he would have been working for EuroSport TV

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Lucien VAN IMPE   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
The perm was popular in the 80s – Tour de France winner and KOM x 6, Lucien Van Impe

Ed Hood spoke to Malcolm Elliot a few years after the 1987 Amstel Gold Race. “Don’t remember much about the race except for the last 20 or 30 kilometres. Coming on to the Cauberg climb in the closing stages there was a bit of a lull then Steven Rooks (twice Dutch pro champion and winner of the Amstel and Liege-Bastogne-Liege) and Teun Van Vliet (winner of Het Volk and Gent-Wevelgem) went to the front, they didn’t put in a fierce attack, but they did up the tempo and began to open a gap, Joop Zoetemelk (1980 Tour winner and 1985 World Champion) moved to get on to them, I tucked in behind him and we bridged-up.”

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Kees Maas Cees Maas - Joey McLOUGHLIN pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Third in the Dutch Classic – Malcolm Elliott

“I must have good legs because it didn’t feel like we were flying but we soon had a 30 second gap, Bruno Cornillet (Z-Peugeot & France, a winner of the Tour of Valencia and the Circuit de la Sarthe) came up and that made five of us up the road. It didn’t feel like we were riding our legs off, no one seemed fully committed but there were little jumps going in, we all kept rolling-through though to keep the momentum going. Zoetemelk went to the front – I think it was Rooks who was behind him – he just rode off the front, we all hesitated, looked at each other and the gap grew, five seconds, then ten, then 20 then it was too much for one rider to bridge on their own.”


Steven Rooks putting the pain on Van Vliet and Zoetemelk

“I can’t remember why but I had it in my head that Van Vliet was the guy to watch because I thought that he had paid-off Rooks and Zoetemelk so I didn’t imagine it would be the race-winning move. Rooks took me by surprise and jumped away for second but I put ten lengths into Van Vliet to take third easily with Cornillet back in fifth. After the race I was pretty happy with the ride but you can’t help but think about how things might have gone, I had hoped that Dutch rivalries might have come in to play and I could have benefited but it didn’t work out like that. Just last year though I heard that Rooks and Van Vliet had been arguing coming in to the finish that day, one of them had done the other a favour at Het Volk and wanted it repaid, but the other wouldn’t do it because the Amstel is such a big deal in Holland.”

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Phil ANDERSON  - Teun VAN VLIET and Dietrich - Didi THURAU   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Van Vliet and Phil Anderson in control for Panasonic

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Steven ROOKS - Didi THURAU pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Steven Rooks and Didi Thurau had their eye on the action

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Paul WATSON  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
ANC’s Paul Watson was active in Amstel, but it was his 6th place in Flèche Wallonne that made the headlines

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Eric VAN LANCKER  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Eric Van Lancker was to win Amstel in ’89

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Adrian TIMMIS   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Adrian Timmis was 40th in Amstel, but later in the year he took a stage win in the Midi Libre and finished 8th overall and finished the Tour de France

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Ferdi VANDENHAUTE  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Ferdi Van Den Haute – Oakley glasses, clipless pedals and hidden brake cables – Cool!

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Eddy PLANCKAERT pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Maybe not the race for Eddy Planckaert – but he finished 7th

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Claude CRIQUIELION  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
The late Claude Criquielion – World champion, Tour of Flanders, San Sebastian, Brabantse Pijl and double Flèche Wallonne winner was in the Top Ten five times in the Amstel Gold

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Per Johnny PEDERSEN - Chris LILLIWIGHT  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Britain’s Chris Lillywhite was a first year pro in 1987 and had a long and successful career

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -   Paul WATSON - Kim ANDERSEN pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Paul Watson next to Kim Andersen

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Guy GALLOPIN  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Guy Gallopin was brought into the ANC team for a bit of French experience – Still riding his KAS bike from the previous season – Brother of Alain and uncle of Tony

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Paul WATSON - Patrick VERSCHUEREN  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Watson putting in an attack with Patrick Verschueren

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Nico VERHOEVEN  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Nico Verhoeven

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Gerard VELDSCHOLTEN pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Gerard Veldscholten

Rotterdam  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - archive - stock - archief  - Joop Zoetemelk (Super Confex) -  foto Cor Vos ©2008
Joop Zoetemelk was the man to watch

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -   Douglas SHAPIRO pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
7-Eleven’s Doug Shapiro was in trouble on the climb

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie  Douglas SHAPIRO  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
A push is always welcome

Joop Zoetemelk wint de AGR. foto Cor Vos©
Tour de France, Vuelta a España winner and World champion, plus many other wins and placings – Joop Zoetemelk was almost 41 years old when won the 1987 Amstel Gold Race, his final year as a pro

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Joop ZOETEMELK  pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
The last podium of a long career

Maastricht - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Teun VAN VLIET - Mart Smeets -  Joop ZOETEMELK   pictured during Amstel Gold Race 1987 - photo Cor Vos © 2018
Mart Smeets interviews winner Joop Zoetemelk and 4th placed Teun Van Vliet

Amstel’87 race action:

1987 Amstel Gold Race Result:
1. Joop Zoetemelk (Ned) Superconfex in 6-12-51
2. Steven Rooks (Ned) PDM at 0:29
3. Malcolm Elliott (GB) ANC-Halfords at 0:31
4. Tuen Van Vliet (Ned) Panasonic at 0:35
5. Bruno Cornillet (Fra) Z-Peugeot at 0:40
6. Phil Anderson (Aus) Panasonic at 1:31
7. Eddy Planckaert (Bel) Panasonic at 1:37
8. Nico Verhoeven (Ned) Superconfex
9. Adrie Van der Poel (Ned) PDM
10. Theo De Rooy (Ned) Panasonic
26. Allan Pieper (Aus) Panasonic
40. Adrian Timmis (GB) ANC-Halfords at 6:44
54. Francesco Moser (It) Chateau d’ax at 9:47
58. Jonathan Boyer (USA) 7-Eleven at 12:03
63. Chris Lillywhite (GB) ANC-Halfords
68. Rual Alcala (Mex) 7-Eleven.

The post Amstel’87 – A Gold Race Photo Gallery! appeared first on PezCycling News.


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