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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.”
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.”
Van Vliet and Phil Anderson in control for Panasonic
Steven Rooks and Didi Thurau had their eye on the action
ANC’s Paul Watson was active in Amstel, but it was his 6th place in Flèche Wallonne that made the headlines
Eric Van Lancker was to win Amstel in ’89
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
Ferdi Van Den Haute – Oakley glasses, clipless pedals and hidden brake cables – Cool!
Maybe not the race for Eddy Planckaert – but he finished 7th
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
Britain’s Chris Lillywhite was a first year pro in 1987 and had a long and successful career
Paul Watson next to Kim Andersen
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
Watson putting in an attack with Patrick Verschueren
Joop Zoetemelk was the man to watch
7-Eleven’s Doug Shapiro was in trouble on the climb
A push is always welcome
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
The last podium of a long career
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.