2022 Women’s Amstel Gold Preview

Maastricht > Valkenburg 125.9km

After another brilliant edition of Flanders, the peloton rolls into the Netherlands, and we hope for another cracking race.

Weather

Sunny, but with temperatures not getting above 10 degrees, it will feel a little on the nippy side.

Lap Circuit

The riders do three laps of this circuit, which features the Geulhemmerberg (900m at 5%), Bemelerberg (900m at 5.1%) and the Cauberg (800m at 7.4%). The race ends the way the men’s race used to, with the Cauberg topping out just 2km from the finish.

Tactics

SD Worx were back to their dominant best in Flanders, they finished with three riders in the top 5. They have rotated their squad for this race, bringing in the pure climbers and saving some for Roubaix. They line up with van den Broek-Blaak, Vollering, Fisher-Black, Vas, Moolman and Reusser which is a hugely talented group of riders. They approach this race the same as they do most races, try to isolate van Vleuten. As this is a race that suits the punchy climbers, it will be hard to drop someone like Arlenis Sierra, so van Vleuten should have someone to help her cover the attacks.

Movistar would love the race to be settled on the Cauberg, this would suit van Vleuten down to the ground. This is a race she’s never won, but she has finished on the podium in both 2021 and 2019. Movistar will look to try and hold things together if they can, but they know what SD Worx will try. 

Trek-Segafredo don’t have Longo Borghini, she’s got COVID, but they do have Elisa Balsamo. The world champion is climbing better than ever before, but this is a race that doesn’t usually end in a sprint. As they are the only team that really want a sprint, it’s unlikely to happen, especially without their Italian champion to anchor the attacks.

Contenders

SD Worx – it’s likely we’ll see Moolman, van den Broek-Blaak and Vollering as their protected riders in this race. Moolman is their best climber, she’ll be used to make the climbs hard and try to put the other main rivals into difficulty. We saw last weekend that van den Broek-Blaak is in great current form, and I think Vollering is also looking good. As we see in most races, having so many strong riders gives them a huge advantage over their rivals, it really is their race to lose.

Annemiek van Vleuten – it must be so frustrating being her! So good, but SD Worx are collectively so strong it’s very hard for her to win some of the biggest races. This is a race that gives her more of an advantage, she can use the steep climbs to put many riders into difficulty, but the climbs are relatively short, which makes it hard for her to drop everyone.

Katarzyna Niewiadoma – she won this race in 2019, she’ll be confident of challenging this year. Her form is good, but she’s yet to finish on the podium yet this year. Just like van Vleuten, she needs to use the climbs to her advantage, particularly the Cauberg. 

Marta Cavalli – recent races haven’t gone according to plan, but she’s now the outright leader of her team, so it’s time to deliver. 

Coryn Labecki – this is just her fifth race day of the year; I’m hoping she’ll be getting close to her best. This race means a lot to Jumbo-Visma, Labecki has the speed required to win from a small group. I also expect Anna Henderson to have freedom to attack, she’s looking very strong in recent races.

Prediction Time

SD Worx will do their usual and I think Chantal van den Broek-Blaak will take the win.

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