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Amstel Gold 2015 Cycling Preview

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Amstel Gold 2015 Cycling Preview

Last year Gilbert found his best to gap the rest with usual Ardennes form finder Vanendert coming in a second just ahead of a trio of talent in Gerrans, Valverde and Kwiatkowski. Those names give you an idea of what type of rider wins Amstel Gold. The gaps are never big here with it often a tricky uphill sprint in 2013 Kreuziger broke away to win with a notable gap but the chasing pack came in close together. Gasparotto broke out in 2012 and held off the challenge of Vanendert (him again) with Sagan just behind winning sprint for 3rd. Since 2008 that Kreuziger win is the only one with a clear winner alone.

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Looking down at 2007 and before has always read a bit like a who is who of dopers at times showing that the effects of doping really helped with the finish of the Ardennes. So who will win the exciting 2015 edition with Gilbert looking for a 5th title, while Gerrans has had 3 podiums in the past four years.

Amstel Gold final 10km

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BMC – Philippe Gilbert is the name no most lips without doubt as he looks to go for a 4th Amstel Gold crown. As always with BMC the team is brimming with talent to aid his objectives. Gilbert once again looks tip top he was 3rd in the openers on Wednesday beaten by Matthews in the sprint for 2nd. He proved solid in Paris Nice and nearly won the Haut Var Matin in Feburary so there is no doubt his legs are fit and ready. His back ups are something else, Caruso 14th in Tirreno Adriatico and a 9th in last years Vuelta. Burghardt 16th in Flanders and a useful domestic to drive the pace early in the race. Dillier has had a quiet season but towards the end of 2015 was improving greatly. Ben Hermans comes in a winner at Brabanconne after his late break away. His 8th overall in Oman must not be forgotten this guy can ride with the best of them. He has an 8th in Amstel from 2011 and should be involved till late on as a foil again. Samuel Sanchez might not be at the peak of his powers but looked sharp in Pais Vasco and his experience is invaluable as a twice grand tour podium finisher and Olympic champion, 7th in 2012 his best finish. Greg Van Avermaet is a monster coming off 3rd in both Flanders and Roubaix despite the shadow looming of a possible ban. 16th in 2013 he is sure to be working hard for Gilbert late on. Theuns is a growing talent who finished 2014 strong his first full year has progressed slowly and he will be another part of the strong help on hand for Gilbert.

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IAM Cycling – Sylvain Chavanel looks the leader for the improving IAM team. He had quiet enough cobbled campaign with 20th his best in E3 and GW. His 11th in Paris Nice overall however shows he might well have his hill climbing legs ready for the Ardennes. He was also impressive 9th in Andalucia so he is nothing if consistently good. Its not been his race as such however, he didn’t race in 2013 and in 2014 he failed to finish. His best are 16th in both 2011,2010. Dries Devenyns has a 14th from 2012, he shun in Oman with a 13th overall and a strong showing on Green mountain. Elmiger is in crazy form for IAM right now, 3rd in a stage of Catalunya was a sign of things to come as he finished 10th in Flanders and then an amazing 5th in Roubaix. Elmiger has been in the game a while now and this will be his 12th Amstel Gold. His best was 16th in 2007 and 18th in 2008, but in 2013 he was just 50th and didn’t race last year. Pineau is the last name that might do something he was a best of 9th on debut in 2005, but has not bettered it since with a 10th in 2008. He was a lowly 99th last year.

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Ag2r La Mondiale – Bakelants did not finish during the week but he had come with decent form including 6th overall in Corsica. He was 46th last just off his best of 34th so he may not be best suited to this test. In his prime Betancur would be right up for this but I believe he is not quiet at his official race weight of 60kg and may in fact be nearer the 70 mark. He has no form to show this season and patience is wearing thin. Amstel Gold has been the least suited of the three Ardenne races in the past so don’t expect miracles. Nocentini could be the man to watch between two DNF’s he has a 9th in 2012 and a 13th in 2008. 2015 has been mixed for him but he could spark to life and 27th in a hard fought San Remo isn’t to be sniffed at. Vuillermoz is at the top level for his first year so a lot of this is new to him but hes been strong enough in 2015 to maybe get involved at the business end.

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FDJ – Arnold Jeannesson is given the number 1 bib for FDJ, its been a mixed season for him with a lack of results after his down under set back 23rd on debut last year if he can finally get himself right he might break much further. Vichot we know can do up hill sprints but this is a test apart and that’s reflected in his two results here. Reza is in a similar vein a strong rider but this finish will be too tricky for him after a hard days racing.
Astana Pro Team – Giro bound Nibali lines up here. Boom should provide strong support to near the finish after a solid spring campaign. Nibali was 19th and 20th before and comes in off a big training block but I would assume he has as team mate better suited here. Fuglsang comes in a 7th in Paris Nice and has also seemed to have been off doing a training block. He was a brilliant 4th in 2011 and he is looking quiet strong this year that he could get involved. Both Sanchez and Westra are good riders who should provide good support in a race that best suits Fuglsang.

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Etixx Quickstep – Kwiatkowski is back on the one day scene after some time in the week long scene. The world champ failed late to fall to 8th in Pais Vasco and managed a 4th in warm up Flanders. 2nd in Paris Nice he looks well set. He was 4th in 2014 and 5th last year so he is without doubt a suitable candidate for this race. As so often the Etixx team is more than strong enough to bring Kwia to the finish in the best shape possible. Expect Meersman and Martin to both be his main help late on both able to put in a big turn. Golas and Alaphilippe are two other names to watch.

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Lampre Merida – The layout at Lampre is interesting with plenty of up and coming talent emerging to complement the existing. Niccollo Bonifazio was an impressive 5th in San Remo but he did not enjoy the cobbled classics failing to finish. He is young and this Amstel Gold will be as much a learning experience for him. Rui Costa comes from a very sound 7th in Pais Vasco. In theory he should suit Amstel Gold but his best was last years 17th and he has twice not finished. Ulissi is back from his ban and was pretty quiet in Pais Vasco. 34th last year and 25th in 2013 are not quiet what could be expected given some of his other results but the build up is one of the hardest you will face in one day racing. Lastly new kid on the block Valls who was 8th in both Catalunya and paris Nice. His win of the overall in Oman was most superb but he tackles his first one day of the year here. 57th last year could he be a feature.

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Lotto Soudal – Podium man Jelle Vanendert lines up to lead once again. He has again being quiet this year but that hadn’t stopped him performing in the past here. His form figures over the past 4 years are 13th, 2nd, 13th, 2nd) he just loves the route and race. Lotto have strong support lined up starting with Tony Gallopin. He had a very decent season but skipped the cobbles so turns up here from his 4th mid week. His best is only 30th but I think he could get involved if providing a 2nd option to Jelle. Expect strong support from the strong riders such as Roelandts and Ligthart, while watch for the improving Wellens on his 2nd start here.
Movistar – The focus of course is around the ageless Alejandro Valverde. There 2nd option may lie in Italian Visconti who was 26th in 2012 but Valverde who looks suited to one day racing this year over week racing is the sure focus. He took three stage wins in Catalunya on his way to 2nd overall and he his 3rd in Strade Bianche was impressive enough if a little lacking in the finishing kick needed. It’s a race that has eluded him with two podiums to his name and a 4th last year.

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Orica Greenedge – After a less suited cobbles phase of the season, Orica enters its most suitable time of year to get a big victory. Simon Gerrans a three time podium man leads the side in a crash affected season leaving him without a win this season. This will be just his 3rd race of the season as he predictably crashed in Strade Bianche, but failed to finish Pais Vasco when on the comeback. He has a decent Amstel Gold record with 6 top 20s from the 8 starts but he comes in with very little racing. Michael Albasini has not quiet shown the killer instinct we had come to expect in 2014. Last season he took out multiple stage in both the Tour de Romandie and Tre Valli Varaesine. To be fair this time last year he has been relatively quiet but then he didn’t finish Amstel Gold last year either. His best result is a 15th from 2009. The strength keeps coming with Daryl Impey who was a 2nd for la Rioja this season, and is south African champion off a 7th Down Under. In three attempts he has not shone here however. Michael Matthews is bang in form however he took a stage in Pais Vasco and took 3rd in San remo and the Green jersey in Paris Nice with another stage win. For me he has to be watched as he vastly improves and he was 12th last year to boot. Weening has waned a little but can prove a key lead out as an 8th in 2013.

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Cannondale Garmin – The joined up team has a range of options here and they usually keep it open to who will lead playing it by year and waiting till racing kicks off. Langveld had a rare poor time in the cobbled classics after a very good San Remo with the crashes likely getting the better of him. He might lead the team on road but he won’t be involved in the finish. Could Haas shine after two quiet outings in Amstel Gold, his form this year has been solid and Garmin have spoken highly of him. Dan Martin has two monuments to his name and should have had plenty more, he came to life in Cataluyna with a top 10 showing and is racing well. He has in the past very much used this race as training ground for the following week in Liege. Navardauskas won the Circuit Sarthe last week showing he is feeling pretty good. 71st last year I do feel he can be more involved than that. Slagter shows a little in pais Vasco but 2014 has been quiet for him and 21st last year did show he could suit the parcours

Tom Dumoulin is a powerful rider.

Team Giant Alpecin – No doubting the focus here will be on supporting the super strong Tom Dumoulin. Dumoulin is coming off a stunning time trial in Pais Vasco notable for the fact it contained a longish steep ramp in its final part, it cracked Tony Martin but not him as held off the challenge of the climbers such as Rodriguez and Izagirre. He has a little set back this year affecting his early season targets but he not looks ready again after that impressive 4th in the Tour Down Under showing his talents for the shorter climbs. He was 20th last year on his 3rd start but he is a rider that has come a great deal over the past 12 months. Considering he was 6th in the previous years longer Pais Vasco time trial. Barguil who had a decent Catalunya can provide the late support he needs. In his Amstel Gold debut.

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Katusha – After last weeks showing in Pais Vasco there is no doubt Joaquim Rodriguez is leading this team again and age hasn’t go to him just yet. A great climber Rodriguez also has a vicious punch, crashing and various other issues mean he did not finish for the last two years but he was a 2nd at his peak in 2011 but racing is changing and this might just be out of reach for him but he will always be dangerous if given some rope. Support is decent with likes of Caruso, Moreno and Machado. Moreno himself was 9th in the absence of Rodriguez and has strong results here in the past. Machado and Caruso both race here for first time.
LottoNL Jumbo – Keldermann is a clear leader for a team lacking the depth of talent it might have had previously. Kelderman was 8th in Limburg and was a good 9th in Catalunya. Its his first Amstel Gold so interesting to see how he goes in this quiet unique test. Should he under perform I am unsure who there next best option may be. Tankink has had a lot of racing since his 2004 debut and i’d manage a 19th in 2011.

Sergio Henao is back fit for Sky

Sky – With his recent form is Sergio Henao putting his stamp to be leader of the team here. Henao was just off victory numerous times in Pais Vasco last week showing he might well be truly over last years horrific injuries. He was 21st in 2012 and an improved 2013 saw him go 6th so he really he has a huge chance to go well here. Kennaugh is an interesting rider who has had a pretty light season not racing since his 6th in Andalucia its his Amstel Debut so we will see how he steps up. Kiriyenka (27th in 2012) is a monster sure to provide at the very least the ultimate loyalty in support of the teams goals. Nordhaug is certainly a notable one day racer but his return to Sky has been a quiet one. He has been 15th and 22nd the last two years so expect him involved. Last but not least we have Poels a stage winner for this blog in Tirreno, hes not done well before here so don’t expect too much with better options.

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Tinkoff Saxo – Roman Kreuziger is of course a past champion from his stunning attack back in 2013 amidst some talk of a doping past. He has been off training since finishing San Remo. He was 10th in Tirreno and a good 11th in Strade Bianche. I expect he should shine once again here as a rider with top20s the last four years. Watch for Valgren who struggled home last year but is an improving rider year on year. Boara is on debut here but comes in rich form with a 2nd in Sarthe and 10th in the Cirterium. Kiserlovski was 29th his only time here in 2012. He has been sitting back so far at Tinkoff but working hard for the team. Last but not least Chris Anker Sorensen who has not quiet had the chance to shine in a squad brimming with talent this season. He hasn’t gone close to winning but his consistency is to admired (37th,38th,34th,33rd)

Bauke Mollema has enjoyed his team change.

Trek Factory Racing – Trek come at this with a number of angles. Mollema may lead he had impressed me greatly with his riding after moving away from the Rabobank set up. 2nd overall in Tirreno a crash in Pais Vasco meant he did not finish. His record in this race is stand out with two 10ths and last years exceptional 7th, with his notable progress he might be touted for this. Arredondo may well be coming along the pocket sized climber is no doubt a threat when roads go up. His first year here its interesting to see how he does. Felline is quiet interesting he has been 30th in 2014 and 31st in 2010 but notable is his progression in 2015 with notable podiums and two victories. Bob Jungels is of course a rider progressing and his talent is undoubted. 38th last year on debut I expect him to be there till late on in support of Mollema. Is Frank Schleck back to near his best evidence suggests otherwise but he was still 24th last year. He is a past winner from 2006 and also 2nd in 2008 but times have changed.

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Bardiani CSF – The Italians will be delighted with there invite to a rare outing this far north of Europe. Colbrelli I thought was very good in 2014, but in 2015 he has not really going in races he could have pushed for some wins. This time last year he has a number of top 5s before his poor Amstel showing. Enrico Battaglin has a recent 4th from Limburg and he was solid in Dubai in an other wards quiet season, 2nd year in this didn’t finish last time. Not sure Zardini or Pirazzi can provide a threat for the team either.

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CCC Sprandi Polkowice – The 43 year old Rebellin might be as good evidence that doping has long term affects than anything else as he continues to defy further time by competing at a decent level. He was 5th mid week in the tune up and was involved with a 5th overall in Settimana. He won back in 2004 under the doping cloud. 11 years later he comes with a 13th after a long break from a race he has thrived in (8 podiums). Schumacher is another with the evident doping past and a winner here in 2007. He has not quiet been the same since his come back to this level from his peak in 2008. Its been a more difficult route back for him from others in the Sport. Paterski might be the best option behind the number 1. The Pole was highly regarded while at Cannondale and he comes in well tuned up with 9th midweek and a 2nd in Limburg. Its his 5th time racing here but he is without a top 50 as of yet.

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Cult Energy Pro Cycling – Fabian Wegmann comes in as team leader but the ex Garmin man has not been all that strong with age not on his side. However his Amstel Gold form is notable with a 14th last year and a best of 8th in 2012. Russell Downing has enjoyed racing at lower levels since his time with Sky. Racing twice here he has never finished the race. Linus Gerdemann might be there best option on the form book with notable 5th in Lugano but its always tricky for a smaller team to step up against the best. He was 52nd on his only race here in 2009.

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MTN Qhubeka – Can MTN find a suitable rider for this. This may not be suited to the number 1 bib Goss who has been used mostly as help for a lead out this season, Pauwels is a decent rider who might shine given his own chance. My other eye casts on how Janse Van Rensburg might cope here he was 9th overall in Langkawi, 5th in Oman and is South African road race champion.

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Nippo Vini Fantini – Cunego is the diamond in the rough of this team. 9th in Limburg can the Italian turn back the clock to repeat his 2008 victory. Insane to think that victory came on his debut in the race while he came close since he was only 50th last year and 43rd in 2013. Expect he may just break the top 20 here.

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Roompot Oranje Peloton – Leds by the man of Dutch cycling Johnny Hoogerland, this cycling project should hopefully grow to give Holland back a strong Dutch side again with the famous Orange on the jersey. Hoogerland had a 12th back in 2011 but I am doubtful he is able to ride to a level to get near a repeat. The team has also allowed De Maar to return to his homeland after time spent racing in the US and briefly as a Curacao citizen. He rode to 84th in his only appearance in Amstel Gold back in 2011.
Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise – A tricky race for the Belgium outfit more suited to the hard fought roads of Belgium. First time here Floris De Tier might excel. We all know the talents of Edward Theuns but this is a race outside his skill set. Lastly is Preben Van Hecke the stand out on his past results here with 36th in 2009, again he would have to step up with a lack of results from his 2015 campaign.

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Wanty Groupe Gobert – Straight away the name that stands out in this line up is Gasparotto. He won in 2012, 3rd in 2010, 8th in 2014 and 9th in 2013. His move from Astana has not quiet seen him thrive and I do worry that he can turn up at his best for such a suitable race. Leukemans has had plenty hard luck over his favoured cobbled campaign. But he is nothing if not adaptable and his record here is impressive with 3 7ths to his name and an 11th in last season renewal, he is certainly looking a good match bet rider. Marcato certainly picked up his form during the spring and has been pretty visible. He was 8th in 2010 and 31st last year so he could really get involved for a team with enough talent to get involved.

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Amstel Gold Outright:

I have already two men in my ante post book, with Tom Dumoulin backed for a little bit at 40/1 and Matthews backed at 15/1 (not a fan of his current odds). Instead my focus in the current market is on two riders who tick simliar boxes. Form in 2015, past signs of form in an Amstel gold and obvious team leaders.

.6pts Sergio Henao 33/1 betfair

.55pts Bauke Mollema 50/1 various

Amstel Gold Match Bets: (more in comments below)

2.5pts Mollema to beat Gasparotto 2.1 pinnacle
3pts Dumoulin to beat Gallopin 2.23 pinnacle
3pts PAterski to beat Maertens evens ladbrokes
5pts Henao to beat Dan Martin 11/10 paddys

About Author

Based in Dublin, Ireland. Introduced to betting through horse racing, placed my first bet on kicking king to win the Gold Cup at 4/1. Used my love of all sports to take an interest in betting on sports. Qualified accountant with a way with numbers. Over years have found the niche sports most rewarding with NFL and Cycling, but always dabble in bit of everything. Focus in future is good staking and improved trading. Also blog at http://sportinginvest.com/

1 Comment

  1. So looking at my match vets now the outrights have moved Henao 25s, Dumoulin 33s \(actually backed at 80s now 40s). Matthews 6s, Mollema is still 50s

    Amstel Gold Match Bets:

    2pts Leukemans to beat Devenyns 4/5 bet365
    2.5pts Mollema to beat Gasparotto 2.1 pinnacle
    2pts Mollema to beat Moreno 11/8 paddys
    1pt Henao to beat Rodriguez 11/8 bet365
    1pt Matthews to beat Gilbert 13/8 bet365
    3pts Dumoulin to beat Gallopin 2.23 pinnacle
    1pt Poels to beat Martin 3.48 pinnacle
    2pt Vanendert to beat Martin 4/5 ladrokes
    3pts PAterski to beat Maertens evens ladbrokes
    5pts Henao to beat Dan Martin 11/10 paddys

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