Tim Wellens previews Amstel Gold Race


On Sunday 21 April, the Amstel Gold Race is scheduled. The course, which counts no less than 265.7 kilometres, is almost completely situated in Dutch Limburg. After the start in Maastricht, 35 hills are to be covered, including three times the Cauberg. Michael Valgren Andersen won this race last year. Tim Wellens was sixth in that edition, while Jelle Vanendert finished tenth. Wellens, who took third place in the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, previews the Amstel Gold Race.

Tim Wellens: “Classics of 250 kilometres and more, are elimination races anyway. Last year's edition, when the real finale began on the Keutenberg, actually went the way I like it. I was ahead with seven other strong riders. During the final local lap, it was a cat-and-mouse game of attacks, while we also caught the escapees very late. Valgren and Kreuziger were eventually granted just enough freedom to fight for the win. I am not against a similar turnout on Sunday, because I need to poker a bit to get rid of the faster riders. It will come down to choosing the right moment to attack. That did not work in 2018, resulting in a sixth place. Of course, we hope to do better this year. ”

“The Brabantse Pijl was a successful test, which showed that my shape is good. That does not automatically mean I will be great in the Amstel Gold Race, but I am going to the start without any doubts. The team was very strong on Wednesday, as the nice fifth place of Bjorg Lambrecht proved. The question for him is whether he can also play a significant role in a long and tough Classic. That is of course part of his development, but I am curious."

“The actual finale starts from the Kruisberg and the Eyserbosweg. That is already very close to the finish, but at that moment it is important to have a few teammates nearby who can guide you to that duo in a good position. With the Fromberg and Keutenberg just after those two climbs, the race will be decided within a distance of ten kilometres. Especially the run-up towards the Kruisberg is crucial, because all the favourites want to sit at the front of the bunch. Then you need riders who can still put you in a perfect position after 220 kilometres. This has worked out well in the previous years. ”

“The weather will be nice on Sunday, but certainly not as hot as 30 degrees, so the temperature should not be an issue for me. Van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Matthews are of course again among the favourites, but that list will be extended with Sagan, Van Avermaet, Valverde and the strong team of Astana. I think the Amstel Gold Race is a nice race, a bit like the Tour of Flanders, but without the cobblestones. Knowing the region much better than the Flemish Ardennes is to my advantage though. The difference with the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège is that positioning is less important there than in the Amstel, which is in my favour because I am good at it. As a team, however, we should never be chasing. When outsiders or helpers of the main favourites attack, there must be a Lotto Soudal rider there as well. "

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Bjorg Lambrecht, Tomasz Marczyński, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Herman Frison.

The Brabantse Pijl was a successful test, which showed that my shape is good.