Amstel Gold Race
|Amstel Gold Race|
|Local name||Amstel Gold Race|
|Region||Mostly Limburg (Netherlands)|
|Date||Middle of April|
|First Winner||Jean Stablinski|
|Most Recent||Danilo Di Luca|
|Most Wins||Jan Raas 5 wins|
The Amstel Gold Race is a road bicycle racing race held (mostly) in the southern part of the province of Limburg, The Netherlands. It is held every spring. As of 2005, it is part of the UCI ProTour. Prior to that it was part of the Road Cycling World Cup. The name does not (directly) refer to the river Amstel, which is far away from the course, but to the sponsor, Heineken-owned beer brand Amstel.
The first race, organized by Herman Krott, took place on April 30 1966, chosen by Krott because it was the Queen's birthday, which he thought would help draw crowds. Unfortunately, in many villages the festivities blocked the roads, meaning that the course had to be changed several times when the race was already underway. As a result, it became over 300 km long, which led an infuriated Jacques Anquetil to leave the race prematurely.
As is not unusual for road cycling races, the course has changed many times over the years. In 2005 the race took place almost entirely within the boundaries of the province of Limburg, but there have also been editions that covered significant parts of Belgium. Since 2003 the finish is at the top of the Cauberg hill, in the Valkenburg municipality. Before 2003 the finish used to be in Maastricht.
- Graat, John (April 16, 2005). De Gold Race is allang geen 'poenkoers' meer. Trouw (newspaper), p. 21.