Milano-Sanremo champion Julian Alaphilippe and four-time winner Philippe Gilbert will lead the line for our squad at Sunday’s event.
The peloton has exited the cobbles last week and prepares to head into the Ardennes Classics, the last major one-day races of the spring, which kick off with the 54th edition of Amstel Gold Race, taking place from Maastricht to Berg en Terblijt over a 265.7km-long course, with narrow and twisting roads, and peppered with a total of 35 climbs. Among the most testing hills there’s the Cauberg – the most used ascent in the history of the World Championships – Kruisberg or Bemeleberg, the last difficulty of the day, topped with 7.3 kilometers to go.
Winner of nine one-day races so far this year, including two of the season’s first three Monuments (Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix), Deceuninck – Quick-Step will come at the start with a strong team, headlined by Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert.
Runner-up a few days ago at Brabantse Pijl, Julian raced Amstel Gold Race on four occasions and featured in the main selection three times, finishing 7th, 6th and 7th, results that backed by his impressive form in 2019 make him one of the main contenders. For Philippe, it will be the 14th start at the Dutch classic, which the Belgian has won on four occasions (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017), a coveted feat only one other rider has achieved since its inception.
Our seven-man squad for Sunday’s race, the 18th World Tour appointment of the season, will be rounded out by Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, neo-pro Mikkel Honoré – who is making his debut in a World Tour classic – Pieter Serry and Petr Vakoč.
“We come here with two leaders – Julian, who tested his legs on Wednesday at Brabantse, and Philippe, who skipped the race to recover after Paris-Roubaix and feels good, so we can look to Amstel with confidence. Dries and Pieter have a deep knowledge of the parcours and will play an important role supporting our two guys, together with Rémi, Mikkel and Petr”, said sports director Geert Van Bondt. “There won’t be too much wind on Sunday and the temperatures will be nice, and that will make for a very fast race, which means we have to stay focused at all times.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images