The Amstel Gold Race is gearing up for a closed-door race in April on a circuit of around 18 kilometers. The Dutch WorldTour race was the only major spring classic that did not receive the green light from the government last October. They want to avoid this scenario in 2021.
To increase the chances of government approval, the organizers have radically redesigned the route and are offering a circuit race on an 18 kilometer loop between Maastricht and Valkenburg instead of the 250 kilometers (and around 130 kilometers for women) through the south of the province of Limburg with more than 20 different climbs, according to the regional newspaper De Limburger.
The new course would include the Cauberg, the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg. The start and finish are at Vilt which has been the place of arrival for the last few years. The course is almost a copy of the 2012 world championship course.
The Dutch government has just extended the country’s lockdown until March 2 and has strict regulations for sporting events. One of the regulations last October was that the organizers must guarantee that there will be no spectators at all. This included people living next to the course or people visiting holiday parks, restaurants and other businesses. Van Vliet hopes that will change as such a guarantee, even on a shorter loop, is very difficult.
âWe have already approached the people who live and work on the course last year and they have been positive and accommodating. We will also communicate in the same way this year, ârace director Leo van Vliet told De Limburger.
Van Vliet is hoping the government will be more lenient this year than it was in 2020 when it canceled two weeks ahead of the race’s scheduled date. âThe regional authorities strictly followed the rules of the national government. I know I have to look higher this time.
Van Vliet hopes to meet the Minister of Health soon. âWe don’t want to ride high horses because we see that there are still a lot of restrictions in the country. On the other hand, we think we can organize the Amstel Gold Race in complete safety. Watch the races in Flanders.
The female and male Amstel Gold Race is scheduled for April 18. Van Vliet hopes to make a final decision within a month. Mathieu van der Poel and Kasia Niewiadoma are the last winners of the only Dutch race of the WorldTour.