The race named after a beer


Amstel. It’s a good beer. But a better race. The most important bike race in the Netherlands, in fact.

Over the years, in my ignorance I’d always assumed this Ardennes Classic was named after the River Amstel, which runs through Amsterdam. But, no, it’s actually named quite straight-forwardly after the Dutch brewery of the same name.

Paradoxically for a nation considered not just to be flat, but sunken in many places, it’s also a rather hilly old affair, with 32 climbs over the 258km course around Limburg in southern Holland. It features some feared pitches, most notably the Cauberg, 1,200m long with a maximum gradient of 12%, which the riders must ascend three times.

Reigning champion is Enrico Gasparotto. Prior to that Phil Gil went back-to-back in 2011 and 2010. The last Dutch rider to win was Erik Dekker back in 2001.

Amstel Gold. 10:30pm, SBS 1, this Sunday night. Here we go again…


One thought on “The race named after a beer

  1. Think we should do the same in Aus! We could have the Carlton Crits, or the Reschs Road Race, even the Tooheys Time Trials? Doesn’t seem to have the same meaning though.

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