Tolhoek tenth in opening stage Ruta del Sol
Antwan Tolhoek has finished tenth in the first stage of the Ruta del Sol. The 15...
This Sunday, the only classic on Dutch soil is on the programme. After the Amstel Gold Race was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus, the race will be held again this year.
The 2021 edition has thirteen laps of seventeen kilometres each. The decisive climbs are the Geulhemmerberg, the Bemelerberg and the Cauberg. Start and finish are on the Rijksweg in Vilt.
Victory for Frans Maassen
Thirty years ago, Frans Maassen won the Amstel Gold Race. In 1991, the current sports director of Team Jumbo-Visma crossed the line in Maastricht first. Maassen himself cherishes warm memories of that edition. “I still think back to it regularly. I had no idea that it was thirty years ago this year. Time goes fast. After all these years, it is still a beautiful memory that I look back on with great pleasure. Every year when this race is about to be held, my attention is drawn to it. It was the best victory of my career. Winning the Amstel Gold Race as a Dutchman is already very special, but as a native of Limburg it is even more so.”
In 1991 the course was quite different from the route in 2021. “Those two editions are absolutely not comparable”, Maassen says. “This year’s route is more like a World Cup race. We are happy that the Amstel Gold Race can and will take place this year. Of course it is a pity that there will be no public present, but we are happy that we can race in our own country.”
The sports director is looking forward to next Sunday’s race. “We have a very strong team. Maybe we are the team to beat. Our riders are in good shape. The Dutch guys always feel something extra for a race on home soil. We try to get that feeling from the foreign riders as well. For us as a Dutch team, this race is of course also special. We will do our best to get the most out of it. We have strong riders who are all motivated. In addition, we form a solid block. Hopefully we can extend our winning mood next Sunday.”
"I hope someone in the team can repeat the feat Frans Maassen performed thirty years ago."
Maassen himself will also be riding the course in the coming days. “In my spare time I don’t ride the track very often anymore. Next week I will ride over the little climbs a few times. Maybe I’ll go out with the riders in preparation. I try not to talk too much about the past, because we live in the present. Occasionally, the boys remind me of the past. Just like last week in the Basque Country: suddenly a photo from thirty years ago appears in the group app. In turn, I stimulate Primoz. He has a huge list of achievements, but the Amstel Gold Race is not yet on it. Of course, it would be a nice addition to it.”
The sports director is clear about his dream for next Sunday. “I hope someone in the team can repeat the feat Frans Maassen performed thirty years ago. That is what we are going for. I am looking forward to it.”
Wout van Aert