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38th Amstel Gold Race - CDM

Netherlands, April 20, 2003

Preview    Results    Live report     Start List    Past winners

Easter Sunday sprint to the top of the Cauberg

By Jeff Jones

2002 winner Michele Bartoli
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

With a new finish atop the steep climb of the Cauberg in Valkenburg, the Amstel Gold Race will definitely be no sprinters affair this year. That's not to say it is normally, with a total of 31 hills scattered along the 250 km parcours, a sprinter has to be very strong to survive these as well as the narrow roads and the wind. Erik Zabel managed in 2000, but often the race is decided by a small breakaway. Last year, Michele Bartoli and Serguei Ivanov (both Fassa Bortolo) succeeded in running rings around Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and Lance Armstrong (US Postal), who didn't have the firepower to break apart the two Fassa teammates.

All four riders will be back this year, and at least two of them can be counted among the favourites for the 2003 Amstel. Serguei Ivanov had a great but slightly unlucky ride in last Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, while 1999 Amstel winner Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) has already shown he can sprint up hills with his win in Brabantse Pijl. Michele Bartoli has not been at his best so far this year, but he's a classy rider who you can never write off. Also Lance Armstrong, who had his preparation interrupted by a stomach bug in the Circuit de la Sarthe, would dearly like to add this spring classic to his palmares, having finished twice on two occasions already.

The man in form at the moment is obviously Peter van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), who has won the last two World Cup races and is hungry for more. "It's a race that certainly lies within my capacities," said Van Petegem this week. "Maybe now more than previously, because the Amstel has a totally different parcours this year. The Keutenberg is deeper in the finale and the finish is no longer the flat finish in Maastricht, but it's at the top of the Cauberg...a hill that I know well. It helped me to a silver medal in the World's in Valkenburg in '98."

Of course a lot of things can happen in a 250 kilometre classic, but Van Petegem has shown that he can read a race to perfection as well as having the legs to win in a flat or an uphill sprint. The real question is whether his form will hold over three World Cup races, but there's no reason to think that it shouldn't at the moment.

After two disappointing results in the last two World Cups, Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon) is hoping that his troubles are behind him this season. When he injured his knee in Dwars Door Vlaanderen, Museeuw hinted that he might instead focus on the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Now that the Lion of Flanders has regained fitness, he has a chance to repeat his 1994 Amstel win. On the other hand, the hill climb finish might be suited to his teammate Frank Vandenbroucke, who has yet to record a win this season despite coming close.

Although Rabobank's chances will probably lie with Michael Boogerd, the Dutch Division I team can also make use of Oscar Freire, who missed Paris-Roubaix last weekend. Freire is a versatile sprinter with a very fast finish, and if he's there at the end will still be a big threat to the climbers on the Cauberg.

Saeco is entering a strong team for Amstel, including Igor Astarloa, Danilo Di Luca and Mirko Celestino. After two second places in two World Cups, the Italian team would dearly love to climb to the top level of the podium.

Another rider who is always useful in the Amstel Gold is Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), who is ideally suited for an uphill finish. Rebellin has yet to place in this race, but is certainly a rider to watch on Sunday.

In Lance Armstrong's US Postal-Berry Floor squad, there are the experienced campaigners Max van Heeswijk and Viatchselav Ekimov, the latter giving the team another top three finish at Paris-Roubaix last weekend. After a good start to the season, Van Heeswijk has struggled with sickness and injury, but hopes that things will fall his way on Sunday.

Danish team fakta has several riders capable of performing in this, their only early season World Cup race. Norwegian champion Kurt Asle-Arvesen and Frank Hoj are in form at the moment, but don't count out Scott Sunderland, who is improving with every race and could well play a role for his team in Amstel.

Other riders to watch include Gianluca Bortolami (Sidermec), Andreas Klier and Daniele Nardello (Telekom), Dave Bruylandts (Marlux), and Bart Voskamp (BankGiroLoterij).

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the 38th Amstel Gold Race from start to finish. Coverage begins at 10:20 CEST/04:20 EDT, 01:20 PDT, 18:20 AEST).

World Cup status for women's Amstel

The women's version of the Amstel Gold Race will be held for the third time on Sunday, over part (114 km) of the parcours that the men use. For the first time, it will form part of the women's World Cup, which is currently being led by Sara Carrigan (Bik-Powerplate). Her nearest rival is Dutchwoman Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites Hartol), who hopes to win on home territory of course, especially after taking Round 3 in Castilla y Leon in Spain last month.

Other riders to watch in the women's race on Sunday include the very strong Zoulfia Zabirova (Prato Marathon Bike), who should find the course to her liking, suiting her solo breakaway skills. Also Susanne Ljungskog (Aliverti Kookai) will be looking to show off her World Champion's jersey, and hopes for better luck than in the previous races.

The Australian national team contains a couple of good climbers in Olivia Gollan (national champion) and Oenone Wood (winner of the GP Cavrie in Italy last weekend). Also look for Kim Bruckner and Amber Neben, from the US T-Mobile team, both strong climbers.

Judith Arndt and Margaret Hemsley will probably lead the charge for Nurnberger, while young riders Nicole Cooke and Rochelle Gilmore will carry the hopes of the Ausra Gruodis team. Their 'sister team' Acca Due O, contains Dutch sisters Chantal and Ghita Beltman, as well as Lithuanian Diana Ziliute, and the combined force is always quite formidable.

The women's race will start in Maastricht approximately 30 minutes after the men's, and will be run over 114 kilometres. The race takes in nine climbs (Maasberg, Adsteeg, Lange Raarberg, Bergseweg, Sibbergrubbe, Cauberg, Bemelerberg, Keutenberg) and the finish is also on the Cauberg.

Past winners

Year First                   Second                          Third    
2002 Michele Bartoli (Ita)   Serguei Ivanov (Rus)            Michael Boogerd (Ned)
2001 Erik Dekker (Ned)       Lance Armstrong (USA)           Serge Baguet (Bel)          
2000 Erik Zabel (Ger)        Michael Boogerd (Ned)           Marcus Zberg (Swi)          
1999 Michael Boogerd (Ned)   Lance Armstrong (USA)           Gabriele Missaglia (Ita)    
1998 Rolf Järmann (Swi)      Martin den Bakker (Ned)         Michele Bartoli (Ita)       
1997 Bjarne Riis (Den)       Andrea Tafi (Ita)               Beat Zberg (Swi)            
1996 Stefano Zanini (Ita)    Mauro Bettini (Ita)             Johan Museeuw (Bel)         
1995 Mauro Gianetti (Swi)    David Cassani (Ita)             Beat Zberg (Swi)            
1994 Johan Museeuw (Bel)     Bruno Cenghialta (Ita)          Marco Saligari (Ita)        
1993 Rolf Järmann (Swi)      Gianni Bugno (Ita)              Jens Heppner (Ger)          
1992 Olaf Ludwig (Ger)       Johan Museeuw (Bel)             Dimitri Konyshev (Rus)      
1991 Frans Maassen (Ned)     Maurizio Fondriest (Ita)        Dirk De Wolf (Bel)          
1990 Adri van der poel (Ned) Luc Roosen (Bel)                Jelle Nijdam (Ned)          
1989 Erik Van Lancker (Bel)  Claude Criquielion (Bel)        Steve Bauer (Can)           
1988 Jelle Nijdam (Ned)      Steven Rooks (Ned)              Claude Criquielion (Bel)    
1987 Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)    Steven Rooks (Ned)              Malcolm Elliott (GB)        
1986 Steven Rooks (Ned)      Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)            Ronny Van Holen (Bel)       
1985 Gerrie Knetemann (Ned)  Jos Lieckens (Bel)              Johnny Broers (Ned)         
1984 Jacques Hanegraaf (Ned) Kim Andersen (Den)              Patrick Versluys (Bel)      
1983 Phil Anderson (Aus)     Jan Bogaert (Bel)               Jan Raas (Ned)              
1982 Jan Raas (Ned)          Stephen Roche (Ire)             Gregor Braun (Ger)          
1981 Bernard Hinault (Fra)   Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel)        Alfons De Wolf (Bel)        
1980 Jan Raas (Ned)          Alfons De Wolf (Bel)            Sean Kelly (Ire)            
1979 Jan Raas (Ned)          Henk Lubberding (Ned)           Sven-Ake Nilsson (Swe)      
1978 Jan Raas (Ned)          Francesco Moser (Ita)           Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)        
1977 Jan Raas (Ned)          Gerrie Knetemann (Ned)          Hennie Kuiper (Ned)         
1976 Freddie Maertens (Bel)  Jan Raas (Bel)                  Lucien Leman (Bel)          
1975 Eddie Merckx (Bel)      Freddy Maertens (Bel)           JospehBruyère (Bel)         
1974 Gerrie Knetemann (Ned)  Walter Planckaert (Bel)         Walter Godefroot (Bel)      
1973 Eddie Merckx (Bel)      Frans Verbeeck (Bel)            Herman Vanspringel (Bel)    
1972 Walter Planckaert (Bel) Willy De Geest (Bel)            Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)        
1971 Frans Verbeeck (Bel)    Gerben Karstens (Ned)           Roger Rosiers (Bel)         
1970 Georges Pintens (Bel)   Willy Vanneste (Bel)            Andre Dierickx (Bel)        
1969 Gudio Reybrouck (Bel)   Jos Huysmans (Bel)              Eddy Merckx (Bel)           
1968 Harry Steevens (Ned)    Roger Rosiers (Bel)             Daniel van Rijckegem (Bel)  
1967 Arie den Hartog (Ned)   Cees Lute (Ned)                 Harry Steevens (Ned)        
1966 Jean Stablinski (Fra)   Bernard van den Kerckhove (Bel) Jan Hugens (Ned)            

Distance and time

Year                              km    km/h
2001 Erik Dekker (Ned)           255  38.620
2000 Erik Zabel (Ger)            258  41.110
1999 Michael Boogerd (Ned)       253  38.547
1998 Rolf Järmann (Swi)          258  38.280
1997 Bjarne Riis (Den)           253  41.689
1996 Stefano Zanini (Ita)        250  42.600
1995 Mauro Gianetti (Swi)        250  39.261
1994 Johan Museeuw (Bel)         249  37.260
1993 Rolf Järmann (Swi)          249  37.343
1992 Olaf Ludwig (Ger)           248  38.219
1991 Frans Maassen (Ned)         244  40.135
1990 Adri van der poel (Ned)     249  41.507
1989 Erik Van Lancker (Bel)      242  40.187
1988 Jelle Nijdam (Ned)          242  37.386
1987 Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)        242  38.943
1986 Steven Rooks (Ned)          242  39.665
1985 Gerrie Knetemann (Ned)      242  37.446
1984 Jacques Hanegraaf (Ned)     242  40.584
1983 Phil Anderson (Aus)         247  41.434
1982 Jan Raas (Ned)              242  38.354
1981 Bernard Hinault (Fra)       237  39.741
1980 Jan Raas (Ned)              237  41.417
1979 Jan Raas (Ned)              238  39.507
1978 Jan Raas (Ned)              237  37.803
1977 Jan Raas (Ned)              230  39.894
1976 Freddie Maertens (Bel)      230  39.078
1975 Eddie Merckx (Bel)          230  37.231
1974 Gerrie Knetemann (Ned)      238  38.963
1973 Eddie Merckx (Bel)          238  35.650
1972 Walter Planckaert (Bel)     237  37.653
1971 Frans Verbeeck (Bel)        233  37.622
1970 Georges Pintens (Bel)       240  37.745
1969 Gudio Reybrouck (Bel)       259  40.782
1968 Harry Steevens (Ned)        245  41.704
1967 Arie den Hartog (Ned)       213  43.711
1966 Jean Stablinski (Fra)       302  38.649


Year First                      Second                 Third    
2002 Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned) Mirjam Melchers (Ned)  Katherine Bates (Aus)
2001 Debby Mansveld (Ned)       Mirjam Melchers (Ned)  Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned)