The riders asked and have gotten what they wanted – a harder Amstel Gold Race. The Women’s WorldTour event was a mere 128.5 kilometres in 2022, with 19 climbs. Race director and former World and Olympic champion Leontien van Moorsel announced today the organisation has tacked on two more climbs and another 28 kilometres at the request of the riders.
“It certainly fits in with the development of women’s cycling,” Van Moorsel said, according to WielerFlits. “We were a bit behind compared to other WorldTour races. More climbing metres and an extra final loop, it will be so spectacular and tough.”
The early part of the race will have an extra loop towards Sittard-Geleen, and riders will tackle the final 18-kilometre circuit that includes the Geulhemmerberg, Bemelerberg and Cauberg four times instead of three. The extra distance brings the total number of climbs to 21, with 1,700 metres of climbing.
In 2022, the average Women’s WorldTour one-day race was 142.4 kilometres, with Brugge-De Panne as the longest at 162.8 kilometres and Paris-Roubaix the shortest at 124.7km. Only Roubaix and the Postnord Vårgårda road race were shorter than Amstel Gold Race last year. The longer 2023 edition will be more similar to the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem in length.
While men’s one-day races can be upwards of 300 kilometres, as in Milan-San Remo, the UCI imposes a maximum of 160 kilometres for women’s road races, with only a few exceptions. In 2020, the Giro d’Italia Donne used a 170-kilometre route for stage 4. Riders were of mixed opinions on whether longer stages were better.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio didn’t think it would change the way the stage was raced, while Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig praised the organisers for the challenge, saying, “Finally, we’re being taken seriously, and they don’t think our uteruses will fall out if we ride long stages.”
The Amstel Gold Race is one event that World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) has not won, but Van Moorsel said the longer course was not created just for her. “We see across the board that the riders want this and can handle it.”
Van Vleuten has raced Amstel five times, finishing second to Kasia Niewiadoma in 2019 and third behind Marianne Vos and Demi Vollering in 2021. 2023 will be her last season, and Van Moorsel hopes she will return for a final run at the title. “It would be nice if Annemiek would add this competition to her palmares in her final year. As an organization, we should not have a preference, but we…
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