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Cauberg axed from Amstel Gold Race finale

Josh Cunningham
15 Feb 2017

Amstel Gold Race finish climb removed in order to make the race less predictable

The Amstel Gold Race is the first of the major Ardennes Classics, falling this year on Sunday 16th April, and since 2003 has always finished on the famous Cauberg climb out of Valkenberg. But in the interests of a more open race, organisers have decided to remove the climb from the race finale. 

About 1,200km in length, with an average gradient of 5.8% and maximum pitches of around 12%, the nature of the Cauberg has been a decisive factor in deciding the winner - its proximity to the finish line often meaning that the race would ultimately come down to whoever rode up it fastest. 

In 2012 the World Road Championships were held around Valkenburg, and the finish line - while still incorporating the Cauberg - was moved a little over a kilometre along from its summit to the village of Berg en Terblijt. Since then the Amstel Gold Race has followed suit, and the finish has been in the same position, but it has been a similar sort of finish, relying heavily on a stinging assault on the Cauberg from the winner. 

But race director Leo van Vliet has, after years of commentators murmuring for change, acted: 'It's been said that the result is always decided by the Cauberg, and that its position 2km from the finish is too decisive. By removing the Cauberg we hope for a more open race, with more contenders and where attackers have a better chance.'

The Cauberg will still feature in the race, but the final ascent of it will now come 19km from the finish. The Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg climbs will now be the main obstacles in the finishing circuit, the last of which is a number of kilometres from the finish line.

The women's race, which is due to be held again in 2017 for the first time since 2003, will retain the traditional finish, and the foot of the Cauberg will come 2km from the line. 

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