Amstel Gold Race
Mid sixties Netherlands have had twenty profciteriums and the Ronde van Limburg and South Holland, but none could match the look of a classic. Licking his lips looked cyclists and organizers to Flanders where it was held every week a big price. Herman Krott, the discoverer of Peter Post and Gerrie Knetemann and chef d'equipe of the Amstel cycling team, was one of those people. He wanted to organize a big-city-to-city race, a bicycle race with style which eventually should become a classic.
A sponsor had quickly found Amsterdam and also an appealing route Amsterdam-Maastricht, but a race of 350 kilometers that too much. The idea for cycling was fired from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, because the police platoon not allowed to cross the Moerdijk Bridge. Eventually the first edition - at Queen's in 1966 - decided to drive to Meerssen to Breda, a town in the hills of Limburg.
On that first Amstel Gold Race, which the predicate 'classic hors category was in 1991, went a lot wrong. Just before the start of the gendarmerie came casually tell that because the village squares and road closed by Queen's celebrations were made several detours into the trail. The game was about forty kilometers longer. That, incidentally, drew five times Tour winner Jacques Anquetil none of these things. He squeezed well before the finish his final close brake and stepped off: his contract was that he had to drive 260 kilometers, not 302. Another favorite, Frenchman Jean Stablinski, won the first episode.
Already in 1973, the most legendary Amstel Gold Race held. Immediately after leaving the new starting Heerlen the peloton was plagued by high winds, rain, snow and hail. in fact the temperature was around zero and it was irresponsible to cycle, but no one dared to take the decision to the course to cancel. Even winner Eddy Merckx, who as usual was not driven away demarreren the rest, was overcome by the cold barely more ahead. His manager had him on the last running track. Merckx begged for food, but just before the finish there was only hot tea available. Cannibal drank out of it, but poured it straight into his shoes, his cold feet.
From the late seventies dominated the Dutch a decade domestically. Of the twelve editions held between 1977 and 1988 triumphed ten times a compatriot, punctuated by victories Phil Anderson and Bernard Hinault. During the victory of the Frenchman in 1981 saw the peloton most of the day not see a thing through the thick fog. In South Limburg unique but wonderful sprint Hinault was the last hundred meters just for a second time.
That year ended no Dutch in the first three, a rarity in those years. In 1977 was even the whole stage red-white-blue with Hennie Kuiper, Gerrie Knetemann and winner Jan Raas. It was the first victory of the Zeeuw who would win in six years five. The price was therefore even a time called the Amstel Gold Raas. The victory in 1978 was however an odor. Clearly visible to all viewers drove the escaped Jan Raas long in the slipstream of the engine AVRO's Sports Panorama. Rightly was the runner Francesco Moser furious. '' I never come here again, '' he shouted.
For over twenty years, foreign boss in the Limburg hills victories of Michael Boogerd (1999) and Erik Dekker (2001) as exceptions. Both defeated the later removal deleted Lance Armstrong in a sprint à deux.
Since that last Dutch victory, it is fortunately possible for amateurs and enthusiasts to cycle the classic a day before the pros. To feel the special character of the Amstel Gold Race: the endless turns and times, hill on, hill, over the narrow roads in Limburg. In order to notice how all the juice from the legs is pressed in 700 meters on the Keutenberg, which is mentioned by a maximum of 22% increase the steepest mountain in the Netherlands. The Cauberg is also not for the cat, because the closing climb of the course is almost a kilometer long, but the real Kuitenwit is the Eyserbosweg that still coarses the first six hundred meters from the picturesque Eys, but suddenly one of the forest KNIK has more than 18%. "I don't know another climb that is so called," said Michael Boogerd. But that comment from the Dutch most successful rider of recent years does not scare the real enthusiast: the 12000 available start sites (60, 100, 125, 150, 200 or 250 km) are nowadays via the organization's website in just over half a half Sold out. Logical, because the only Dutch classic, who must have driven a little rider?