Sunday, April 20, 2008

Amstel Gold

The guys just finished the line so here goes my rendition...

This edition came down to a sprint - if you can call an 800 meter steep uphill a sprint. If i hadn't seen pro men race live many times, I would have thought the replay of the sprint finish was in fast forward because it is seemingly impossible to sprint up that steep incline as quickly as they did!

For the most part, the terrain really determined the outcome of the race. It was a rolling course with multiple steep climbs that were just long enough to shrink the field every by the top of every one.

For the last kilometers up to the finish, there weren't many attacks among the 10 or so guys left. I suppose the thought of having to possibly use all your resources before the final 1km climb to the finish line may put you from a potential first place to dead last! It's not like the Paris-Roubaix finish where if one of those two guys accompanying Boonen in those last km's would have attacked, he'd only place 3rd at worst. Basically, it's much harder to fake fitness on a grueling climb!

Anyway, up the climb the race played out pretty much as most would have expected - Frank Schleck (last year's winner) took the lead with Damiano Cunego on his wheel. Rebellin et al were in tow. Just before the finish Cunego easily passed Schleck for the win. Cunego looked so incredibly happy. His first post-race facial expression was one of relief, complete with tongue sticking out!

I wish i had more to write but it wasn't nearly as interesting as RVV or Paris-Roubaix!

My personal race season should start soon so maybe i'll have more interesting stories - firsthand.

By the way, we finally had VERY PLEASANT weather here. Actual sun accompanied 17 deg.C weather. I felt sweat drip down both the front AND back of my torso. I cannot even remember the last time i felt warm. There is no other feeling like sun on your face and warming your legs.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Now it's time for my pasta, maybe a glass of red wine too.

Oh, and a trivia question: What was Lance Armstrong's best placing in amstel gold?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Stefan Schumacher last year? Fränk won, I think, in 2006. But we get the point. Even if the racing didn't LOOK very exciting this year, anyone who has done Amstel Gold can tell you that it is an incredibly fun course to RIDE. It takes three days for the dizziness to subside, and that's only if you've been lucky enough not to smack into lampposts, kerbs, bridge railings, traffic furniture, and motos, or topple over backward on the Keutenberg. Your post-race summations are the best English-speaking ones in the sport. Keep it up. How many calories did they burn?
-- E.C. Chamberlain

Michel said...

Hi Christine!

E.C. Chamberlain is right, it was indeed Schumacher last year, who won, Frank Schleck was 2006.

It is indeed a fun course to ride, but there are way to many obstacles these days! (all the things they do to keep persons from speeding). The day before the Amstel Gold (so yesterday) there is always a "toer-versie" for cycling enthousiasts. Always between 12.000 and 13.000 people who get on their bikes. Although I have to admit that for that course, it maybe are too much. It certainly is very busy!

The Keutenberg is indeed steep, 22% max. The last climb, to the finish, de Cauberg, is max 12%, so not that steep, but steep enough to make a final shift.

This actually was the first time Cunego entered the Amstel Gold, and won it first time, not too bad I think. Also his first big "one day classic" win. He won smaller races and some stages in several stage races (and won the Giro in 2004!) but never a big (semi) classic!

Best performance of Armstrong? He ended second in '99, behind, of all guys, Boogerd! Only time Boogerd won, and even in a sprint. He had one of the worst sprints in the peloton, he was a real climber, but managed to win in the sprint. Boogerd has 10 top-ten finishes behing his name in the Amstel, 6 or 7 of them were top 3 I guess (ended up 4 times as second).

If I'm correct, Lance also ended second behind Erik Dekker in 2001, but don't know that for sure, have to look up that one!

If you have any questions about the Amstel Gold Race, fire away!

Groeten uit een zonnig Holland!

Michel

chr15 tree said...

Schlek, Cunego... I would have been routing for either of them. I think they are both a credit to the sport. They both have had a 'meteoric' rise, Cunego winning the Giro, and Schlek at Amstel in the Luxembourg national jersey and on Alpe d'Huez if I'm not mistaken (if I am i'm sure i'll be corrected). I hope they both have a long future ahead!

I'd have loved to have seen that uphill 'sprint' if nothing else than because I climbed 4 15-20%ers today and could manage little more than 6 or 7 mph most of the time!

The weather was pleasant here too after a damp, chilly start the sun broke through mid morning and despite cold hands alost wish I'd worn a short sleeve jersey!

Hope you enjoyed your pasta and wine!

Can't wait to hear about your season. Would be interested to know what makes a typical training week for you too?

CT :)



PS 2nd to Eric Dekker??? I would say 2000... sprint finish too!

bikesgonewild said...

...michel is quite correct...2nd to micheal boogerd in '99 & again 2nd to eric dekker in 2001...

...marin weather report:::sunny but real windy & chilly...everybody's bundled up...

chr15 tree said...

Oh boy.. double whammy today... thanks postie!

Issues one and two of Cyclocross magazine. (not read any yet, but looks vastly different from the normal magazine format, which I think can only be a good thing!)

AND

Two Vanderkitten cycling caps... schweet!

PEANUT said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and corrections on amstel gold. Based on what i saw on the TV i'd LOVE to ride the course. My coach has a marin county version that is actually similar to the real one from what i've seen now on TV. I used to ride it back in CA.
Congrats on your postal arrivals chr 15 !
Oh, and by the way, we finally had a 20 degree C day here in belgium!!! It was slightly windy (surely much less windy than Marin County from what BGW has kindly told us) but sunny, sunny, sunny. I think maybe, just maybe i have a teensy weensy color on my face.

Amy said...

Just wanted to say - thanks again for Saturday! I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say...it makes me feel empowered to continue down the vegan path! If you have a chance to send them, I am very interested in the recipes you mentioned. You definitely should consider writing a book, I think a lot of people would be inspired by your approach. Thanks again and enjoy the nice weather!

chr15 tree said...

Amy: Thanks for your report on Christine's lecture :) I agree with the book idea, or even some recipe ideas. :)

Christine: I tried your mushroom soup a while back (I saw your recipe when I first came accross your blog). It was lovely, I made loads, it kept me going for days.

PEANUT said...

Hey Amy:
Thanks for your kind words! AND thanks for your recap of the event on your blog. I very much appreciate it. Yes, I will send over the recipes. What is your email?
I have put "write book" on my things-to-do list. That could be a really fun project.
And thanks CHR15 for your encouragement as well. It wouldn't be a recipe book although i'm sure i'd include a few of those.
Glad you liked the soup.
Best,
christine

Amy said...

Thanks, Christine! my email is amycrawshawbel "at" yahoo "dot" com

Isn't this weather the best!

PEANUT said...

got it amy. I'll send recipes soon.