AMSTEL GOLD RACE
With Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège arriving on the calendar, for the first time, the women will be able to race the full Ardennes Week alongside the men.
There was briefly a women’s Amstel Gold Race in 2001-3, but since its demise, the women’s peloton have still raced the Limburg hills, with the Boels Rental Hills Classic, and in recent years, the final stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour finishing on the Cauberg - and of course, it was the home of the 2012 World Championships road race.
But racing on the same roads at the same time as the men, with the same huge crowds and media coverage, is a step up from the previous events, and it’s a symbolic moment for racing in the Netherlands, which is the heartland of women’s cycling, because of the sheer numbers of riders and races. It is sad for the events that had to move to make space for Liège and Amstel, but on a broader level, this is meaningful for the sport in general, and for sponsors especially. These are household names for Classics fans the world over, and just getting to race them will bring benefits for riders, teams and sponsors.
Women haven't raced the Amstel Gold for 14 years – this year it returns