Former podium finisher Amanda Spratt and Brugge-De Panne winner Grace Brown return to the Ardennes Classics with high ambitions for 2021, eyeing the victory in Amstel Gold Race, with Spratt having built towards the event as one of her main goals of the season.
Unlike previous years, the 2021 edition of the race will cover seven laps of a local circuit finishing in Berg en Terblijt, just four kilometres from the top of the steep Valkenburg. With the abundance of short steep climbs without much respite between efforts, the course leaves no room to hide, with the Australian duo lining-up in top form.
The pair will have a stellar squad built around them with climbing duo Lucy Kennedy and Ane Santesteban, plus Georgia Williams and Janneke Ensing to provide valuable support into the key climbs and along the twisting narrow roads.
Team BikeExchange at Amstel Gold Race:
Grace Brown (AUS)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (SPA)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)
“I am really excited for the week of racing ahead and it feels like I have been waiting a long time for the Ardennes week to come around, maybe even more so after I had to miss them last year as a result of my Giro crash.
I love the hard hilly one-day races and I think this year with Amstel being raced only on circuits, it has the potential to be even harder than usual. It will be climb, recover, climb, recover in quick succession and these are the sort of races that suit me well.
I feel like my form is good. It’s been a different preparation for me this year without an Australian summer in the legs but I have had a really great group of people close to me who have reminded me to trust in the process, have confidence in it and focus on executing my role well. I want to take this mentality into the races ahead and I really believe we can fight for the win.
I think we have a great team who have been able to prepare really well for this racing block and we will take what we have learnt from the last races into Amstel. I have been on the podium at Amstel before and I would love to have that same feeling after the finish line on Sunday.”
Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“For Amstel Gold Race, this year we go into the race with ‘Spratty’ clearly as our team leader and we have Brown who has shown she has great form. The course has changed for 2021 and with this new course, the race could be a bit more open without a clear place or specific climb to split the field and make a real selection.
We have a really strong team to support our leaders and the riders are all in good form, with some coming from a big block of training and others having raced a lot in the cobble Classics but after a small rest, they’re ready for this next block.”
2021 Amstel Gold Race Details:
Sunday, 18th April: Valkenburg – Berg en Terblijt – 7 laps of 16.9km
Photo courtesy of Getty Images