April 15, 2006 – The fifth round of the ProTour hits the streets of the Netherlands tomorrow for the classic Amstel Gold Race. The 41st edition runs just over 250K in the Masstricht province of the Netherlands, and takes in several now well-known climbs. The tough Cauberg climb is almost always the deciding hill, and should once again provided some excitement for the finale.
Quick.Step’s Tom Boonen will not be riding for gold at this race – after a string of victories he has decided to rest up and prepare for the Tour de France and the rest of the season, so the Rainbow Stripes will not be on top of the podium in Amstel. Michael Boogerd of Rabobank – three times runner-up – has been relatively quiet this spring but must be wondering if indeed this is his year.
Discovery will be fielding a less-than-perfect team this year with several of their heavy hitters – notably George Hincapie, and his righthand man Michael Barry, injured. However, Leif Hoste has been on fire as of late and could have a go at it. Look for Lotto’s Peter Van Petegem to avenge his Paris Roubiax DQ, and Quick.Step’s Filippo Pozzato to try and use the same form that won him Milano-San Remo at Amstel.
Racing begins 10am local time Easter Sunday and Pedal will have photos and results immediately following the race.