The professional peloton swaps the cobbles for the hills of the Ardennes, with Amstel Gold Race kicking off this year’s Ardennes Classics on Sunday (April 19).
Last year’s winner, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) bids for a fourth victory in the 50th running of the race – only legendary Dutchman Jan Raas (five) has more – but Fast Phil faces plenty of competition for his crown.
The relentlessly hilly race – there are 33 categorised climbs in all, each one short, steep and with little respite in between – will, as has been the way since 2013, finish just beyond the Cauberg.
The change was designed to provide more attacking opportunities and you can expect to see plenty of riders bidding to bury themselves off the front on the thigh-burning ascents.
It’s the Cauberg which is the race’s stand-out climb, 1.2km in length with an average gradient of 5.8 per cent, and it features three times.
But who will be toasting success on the podium this year? Can Gilbert add another hilly Classic to his palmares or will his rivals bite back?
We’ve rounded up the contenders over the following pages.