Amstel Gold Race
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A Peculiar Obsession
Our good friends at the excellent Velo Club du Net have just interviewed Rabobank DS Theo de Rooy.
To read the original French version and all their other excellent features click here.
Having ridden as a professional with Panasonic and Ti-Raleigh in the Eighties, Theo de Rooy now brings his experience to the Division One Dutch team Rabobank. With 6 podiums and 2 victories in the last five years, he seems to know a little about the Amstel Gold Race...
VCdN; Is the Amstel Gold Race the most important race of the year for you?
TdR; The most important, I don’t think so.... Every race is important! Milan San Remo, the Tour of Flandres... Amstel it is different: it is in Holland, all eyes are on the Rabobank. There is more pressure. It is true that as a home race it gives an additional motivation to the riders.
VCdN; Will the course changes alter the race very much?
TdR; No, I don’t think so, we will see the same riders at the front as last year. Riders with a similar style: Bartoli, Ivanov, Boogerd, Van Petegem, men who are fast on the flat and on the climbs.
VCdN; Can you tell us something about the Cauberg?
TdR; It is a 1.2km hill with a gradient of 12%. It should be tackled in a high gear, especially at the start. You should be using something like 52*17, 53*17, 53*16... After 250 km, certain riders will have the empty legs and will do the climb on a lower gear, but those riders who want success will be in a high gear. It is a tough climb, but for those who want to win the race, whether it ends on the flat or a climb will make little difference. What might alter the race is on the descent from Valkenburg; with about 2,5 km to go there is a hard left hand bend approaching the climb. If there is a small group in front, anyone who does not want a sprint finish may well attack here. From that point of view, the bold rider can win.
VCdN; So you know the finish by heart?
TdR; Yes, like all the course in general. Along with motivation, local knowledge of the course is our principle advantage. If it is windy, our riders will know exactly how to ride in those conditions; this is an important advantage.
VCdN; With Boogerd and Freire you have two cards to play!
TdR; I’m not certain about Boogerd and Freire... Boogerd was sick a week and a half ago, Freire told me earlier this week that his form was not too good... Now they are better but they still miss the bench marks. Previously the Flèche and Liège-Bastogne-Liège were before Amstel, so the favourites were clearer for everyone.
VCdN; Riders like Dekker, who haven’t ridden much?
TdR; Yes, Dekker especially... he rode the Semaine Catalane and the Tour du Pays Basque but fell sick, although he is now better. His presence, his creativity is always very important for the team.
VCdN; However, he has already won the GP Erik Breukink...
TdR; Well yes, but he missed any competition in the mountain! It is a completely flat race and has nothing to do with Semaine Catalane or the Classics! But I also see a very important role for Zberg and Wauters tomorrow. To take advantage of how the race develops, if at that moment they are at the front and they can work together; they can have a big influence on the race.
VCdN; Can Michael Rasmussen be a good Classics rider?
TdR; Well, we will see next week!! But in the meantime, he is enjoying the stage races and climbing very well.
VCdN; Which teams are you’re biggest rivals?
TdR; Fassa Bortolo! Also Quick-Step and Armstrong, but collectively Fassa Bortolo will be very strong. I thought Ivanov was incredible in Paris-Roubaix last year - he punctured, he fell and still he came back, he made a strong impression on me that day.
VCdN; Is Armstrong ready for this race, in your opinion?
TdR; Obviously, he has not come here to get nothing. If he rides he will be in at the finish.
Amstel - Past Winners
1983 Race Report
Except for the finish, little worth mentioning occurred during the race. After Maertens fell on the Keutenberg the contestants riding behind him were held up, and suddenly there were eight riders in the lead: Raas, Wijnands (Raleigh), Zoetemelk (Mercier), Van der Poel (Aernoudt), Boyer, Rooks (Sem), De Wilde (La Redoute) and Anderson (Peugeot). Raas was a bit worried, and after consulting with Peter Post he decided not to stay with the group. Anderson and Zoetemelk understood what he was doing and sprinted to take a half-minute lead. However, because Zoetemelk lost strength the rest were catching up. Anderson sprinted away and stayed away. In the battle for second place, Raas was beaten by Bogaert.
1 Phil Anderson AUS 5:50:26 5:50:26
2 Jan Bogaert BEL 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
3 Jan Raas NED 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
4 Jacques Hanegraaf NED 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
5 Etienne de Wilde BEL 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
6 Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle FRA 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
7 Luc Colyn BEL 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
8 Patrick Cocquyt BEL 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
9 Ad Wijnands NED 5:50:57 + 0:00:31
10 Steven Rooks NED 5:50:57 + 0:00:31