CYCLING Preview: Another honor for Gilbert in Amstel Gold Race?

Four-time Amstel Gold race winner Philippe Gilbert (BEL) (Photo: Jeremy Gunther-Heinz Jahnick via Wikimedia Commons)

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert scored a historic win last Sunday in Paris-Roubaix, winning his fourth “Monument” race and joining an elite list of riders who have achieved that feat.

On Sunday, he has a chance to make some more history in the 54th Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands. As a four-time champion, he can tie for the most wins in this race ever, with Jan Raas (NED), who won in 1977-78-79-80-82.

But it won’t be easy. The hilly course of 265.7 km from Maastricht to Berg en Terbiljt is a challenge, as is the narrow and winding route. And, in addition to Gilbert, there are four other past winners and 11 previous medalists:

● Philippe Gilbert (BEL) ~ Winner in 2010-11-14-17
● Enrico Gasparotto (ITA) ~ Winner in 2016; third in 2010-18
● Roman Kreuziger (CZE) ~ Winner in 2013; second in 2018
● Michael Valgren (DEN) ~ Winner in 2018; second in 2016
● Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) ~ Winner in 2015; second in 2017
● Jelle Vanendert (BEL) ~ Second in 2012-14
● Alejandro Valverde (ESP) ~ Second in 2013-15; third in 2008
● Michael Matthews (AUS) ~ Third in 2015
● Peter Sagan (SVK) ~ Third in 2012
● Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) ~ Third in 2016
● Robert Gesink (NED) ~ Third in 2009
● Michael Albasini (SUI) ~ Third in 2017

In addition, the top two riders in the seasonal World Tour rankings are in the race: Belgium’s Oliver Naesen (1,170 points) and France’s Julian Alaphilippe (1,145).

The women’s race is the sixth in the series and the third after the race was reinstated in 2017. It shares a portion of the route, at 126.8 km, also from Maastricht to Berg en Terbiljt. The field is outstanding, including six prior medalists:

● Chantal Blaak (NED) ~ Winner in 2018
● Anna van der Breggen (NED) ~ Winner in 2017
● Lucinda Brand (NED) ~ Second in 2018
● Lizzie Deignan (GBR) ~ Second in 2017
● Amanda Spratt (AUS) ~ Third in 2018
● Anniemiek van Vleuten (NED) ~ Third in 2017

In addition, just about every other important rider – excluding seasonal leader Marta Bastianelli (ITA) – is entered:

● Ellen van Dijk (NED) ~ Ronde van Drenthe bronze medalist
● Lorena Wiebes (NED) ~ Drie Daagse de Panne and Gent-Wevelgem runner-up
● Marianne Vos (NED) ~ Trofeo Alfredo Binda winner
Coryn Rivera (USA) ~ Three World Tour medals in 2018

Plus other contenders including Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA), Amy Pieters (NED) and Ashleigh Moolman (RSA). After all the hills, the final kilometer is flat, so the race to the finish could well be a wild sprint.

Look for results here.