Late attacks by Philippe Gilbert/Michal Kwiatkowski (2017) and Michael Valgren/Roman Kreuziger (2018) proved to be the decisive moves in the last two editions. Both races ended with a sprint-à-deux and Gilbert and Valgren turned out on top. Are we going to see another nail-biting finale? The narrow roads in the final lap are very attacker-friendly. Positioning will be everything and a successful peloton-chase is next to impossible.
With 45 kilometres to go the route offers its steepest hills. Firstly, the combo Gulperberg, Kruisberg and Eyserbosweg in rapid succession before the route continues to Keuterberg and Cauberg. These climbs are clustered within 30 kilometres. It is a perfect section to strike – or to rev up and get rid of a lot of riders.
Almost 3 kilometres after cresting the Cauberg the final lap bell rings. The round amounts to 16 kilometres and features alley-like roads and climbs up the Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg.
Julian Alaphilippe is in stellar form, but Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel will be eyeing up his first Amstel trophy. Last Wednesday, the two went head to head in Brabantse Pijl and Van der Poel turned out on top. Roubaix champion Gilbert must be eager to add to his tally of four Amstel Gold Race victories to equal Jans Raas’ record of five.
Gilbert took the Amstel in 2017, 2014, 2011 and 2010, while other – still active – victors in the only Dutch classic on the calendar are Enrico Gasparatto (2016, 2012), Michal Kwiatkowski (2015), Roman Kreuziger (2013), Stefan Schumacher (2007) and Davide Rebellin (2004). The last two are the only non-competing former winners in 2019.
Favourites 2019 Amstel Gold Race
***** Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe, Michal Kwiatkowski
**** Philippe Gilbert, Michael Matthews, Peter Sagan, Tim Wellens
*** Alejandro Valverde, Maximilian Schachmann, Romain Bardet, Wout Van Aert
** Tadej Pogacar, Greg Van Avermaet, Michael Woods, Alberto Bettiol, Wout Poels
* Jakob Fuglsang, Alexey Lutsenko, Matej Mohoric, Roman Kreuziger, Oliver Naesen