The Amstel Gold Race opens Ardennes Week on Sunday April 20, and you can watch the first of the hilly Classics live on television.
Follow this link to our in-depth preview of a race that will set the tone for a week of racing in the Netherlands and the hilly region of Wallonia.
With the hardmen of the cobbles having provided spectacular entertainment over the previous weeks, it’s now time for the climbing specialists – the riders likely to contest the Grand Tours – to take centre stage in a series of one-day races every bit as prestigious as the feared Northern Classics.
Omega Pharma-Quickstep, the Belgian super team who claimed victory last week in the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix, with Niki Terpstra, after a day of relentless attacking from team leader, Tom Boonen, will hope to strike early in Ardennes Week.
The young Polish rider, Michal Kwiatkoswki, will lead the team at the Amstel Gold Race, a test of nearly 250km and littered with 34 climbs, including the infamous finishing ramp of the Cauberg.
Kwiatkowski, who finished fourth at last year’s Amstel Gold Race, is enjoying the best season of his career, having claimed overall victory at the Volta ao Algarve and opened his one-day account by seeing off the challenge of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) to win the Strade Bianche.
“I know I can do it well, Amstel Gold Race,” Kwiatkowski said. “We go into the race very motivated. As for me, I’ve had more results this year leading into Amstel. So, because of that there is perhaps more pressure, but until now nothing has changed.
“We know the race and it usually starts at 70 kilometers to go. But, anything could happen. There are a lot of good riders who are explosive on the climbs. Philippe Gilbert, Joaquim Rodriguez, or Alejandro Valverde for example. This race is unpredictable, so it’s difficult to give a true prognosis before the race.”
Gilbert (BMC Racing), the former world road race champion, won all three Ardennes Classics in 2011. The Walloon opened his one-day account in fine style on Thursday by winning Brabantse Pijl. Other pre-race favourites include Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, second last year and winner of five races already this season, and defending champion, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Details of broadcast coverage can be found below. Check back after the race for our report, photo gallery, and post-race analysis.
Amstel Gold Race 2014
British Eurosport – 1pm
Sky Sports 2: 1pm
Sunday April 20, 2014
British Eurosport 2: 6pm
Monday April 21, 2014
Sky Sports 3: 11.30am
British Eurosport: 8am, 1pm, 11pm