From the first climb onwards it’s vintage Amstel Gold Race, with lots of twists and turns while cycling on narrow country roads. Crashes are common and favourites face a constant battle to be up front in the peloton. This familiar scenario will be reinforced in the finale of 2018’s race. For years the Cauberg was the last climb, which was first altered last year in favour of a finale with Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg. That scenario will be repeated this year, yet with the addition of extra small roads in the last round. Obviously, the adjustment should favour attackers.
Traditionally, the Amstel Gold Race kicks off at the Markt in Maastricht. Already at kilometre 9.3 the first hill is rested, Slingerberg, and with this the tone is set. The route takes in a numbers of loops through the hilly Limburg region in the south of the Netherlands, zigzagging from one short and sharp climb to the next. The full route features 35 hills. Sibbergrubbe, Bemelerberg, Loorberg and Gulpenerberg make a double appearance, while Cauberg and Geulhemmerberg are included three times.
The steepest ramps in the Amstel Gold Race are clustered in the run-up to the finale. With around 43 kilometres left Gulpenberg, Kruisberg and Eyserbosweg follow in rapid succession. Albeit short, these climbs have double digit ramps, which all the more hurts after more than 200 kilometres in the saddle. A little later, with 27 kilometres to go, Keuterberg brings a 22% section to the table, while the last climb up the Cauberg – with its steepest section at 12.8% – begins with 19 kilometers remaining.
Following the last passage over the Cauberg the riders cross the line for the final lap of 16 kilometres. After the Geulhemmerberg – 1 kilometre at 5% – the route doesn’t continue on the N590, as it did last year, but just before reaching the top the riders take a right-hand turn and race on narrow roads to the foot of the Bemelerberg. The last climb is 900 metres and averaging 4.5% and at the top there are 6.2 kilometres left to race. Shortly, the riders take a left-hander onto the alley-like Franse Steeg (Dutch for French alley) and after moving through Terblijt the riders once again hit last year’s route moments before entering arrival place Vilt.
Read also: results/race report 2018 Amstel Gold Race.
Amstel Gold Race 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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