For the first time in history women will race all three classics: Amstel Gold, La Fléche-Wallone Féminine and Liége-Bastogne-Liége in an Ardennes super-week of racing. The re-introduction of Amstel Gold since 2003, the new Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and the 20th edition of La Fléche-Wallone Féminine, make up one of the most exciting weeks on the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar.
CANYON//SRAM Racing will start Amstel Gold on Sunday 16 April with a strong roster of Trixi Worrack, Alexis Ryan, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Brennauer and Alena Amialiusik.
Amialiusik, who missed racing Flanders due to a crash in Gent-Wevelgem, said it’s an exciting step in women’s cycling. “I think it’s great to have two extra Ardennes classics. It shows that women’s cycling is growing and it’s gaining more and more attention and exposure. Race organisers are seeing that and they are wanting to be a part of the momentum and as well to do their own part in its growth.”
Italian road champion, Elena Cecchini believes racing the same day as the men is an important factor for these one-day prestigious races. “I always said and believed that having the same races as the men, on the same day, is what can help bring women’s cycling a step up and is a faster way to involve more fans, people and sponsors. We have a strong and super-motivated team and a new race always brings something extra. We are excited and curious for these races.”
The Amstel Gold Ladies race, in the Dutch Limburg region, is 121km long with 17 official climbs including 3 times the famous Cauberg climb in Valkenburg.
Trixi Worrack predicts Sunday's winner to have similar characteristics as seen in the other spring classics. “There’s a lot of short steep climbs and constant accelerations with a lot of corners. It will suit a classics-style rider that can be strong over the climbs, can have a good sprint if it comes down to a small group, but a good eye for reading the race. For me personally I’m feeling good, my shape is there, and I think I can help the team for a great result on Sunday.”
Follow the action on the team’s Twitter @WMNcycling with #UCIWWT from 10:40 (CEST) on Sunday 16 April.