Amstel Gold Circuit Race? Dutch classic proposes a radical course redesign in 2021

The Amstel Gold Race is preparing for a race behind closed doors this April on a circuit of around 18 kilometres.

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The Amstel Gold Race is preparing for a race behind closed doors this April on a circuit of around 18 kilometres. The Dutch WorldTour race was the only big spring classic that didn’t receive the green light from the government last October. They want to avoid this scenario in 2021.

To increase the chances of government approval, organisers have radically redesigned the course and propose a circuit race on an 18-kilometre loop between Maastricht and Valkenburg instead of the 250 kilometres (and around 130 kilometres for the women) through the south of the province of Limburg with over 20 different climbs, according to regional paper De Limburger.

The new course would include the Cauberg, Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg. Start and finish are in Vilt which has been the finish location for the past years. The course is almost a copy of the 2012 World Championships course. 

The Dutch government has just extended the country’s lockdown until the 2nd of March and has strict regulations for sports events. One of the regulations last October was that the organizers have to guarantee there won’t be any spectators at all. This included people living alongside the course or people visiting holiday parks, restaurants and other businesses. Van Vliet hopes this will change because such a guarantee, even on a shorter loop, is very difficult.

“We already approached the people who live and work on the course last year and they were positive and accommodating. We will also communicate the same way this year,” race director Leo van Vliet told De Limburger. 

Van Vliet hopes that the government will be more lenient this year than they were in 2020 when they cancelled two weeks before the race was due. “The regional authorities strictly stuck to the national government’s rules. I know I have to look higher up this time.” 

Van Vliet hopes to meet with the minister of health soon. “We don’t want to get on a high horse because we see there are still many restrictions in the country. On the other hand, we think we can organize the Amstel Gold Race in a safe way. Look at the races in Flanders.”

Both the women’s and men’s Amstel Gold Race are planned for the 18th of April. Van Vliet hopes to make a final decision in a month. Mathieu van der Poel and Kasia Niewiadoma are the most recent winners of the only Dutch WorldTour race.

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