This April, the Amstel Gold Race 2021 is planning to race behind closed doors on a circuit of some 18 kilometres.
Last October, the Dutch WorldTour race was the only major spring classic that got no green light from the government. In 2021, they want this situation to be avoided.
According to the regional paper De Limburger, organisers have dramatically revised the route to improve the chances of government approval and propose a circuit race on an 18-kilometre loop between Maastricht and Valkenburg instead of 250 kilometres (and about 130 kilometres for women) through the south of the province of Limburg with over 20 different climbs.
The Cauberg, Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg will be part of the new course. Start and finish are in Vilt, which in recent years has been the finishing spot. The course is almost a replica of the course for the 2012 World Championships.
The Dutch government has just extended the lockdown of the country until 2 March and has strict sporting event regulations. Last October, one of the rules was that the organisers had to promise that there would be no spectators at all. This included individuals living alongside the course or individuals visiting holiday parks, restaurants and other companies. This will improve, Van Vliet hopes, because such a promise, even on a shorter loop, is very difficult.
“We already approached the people who live and work on the course last year and they were positive and accommodating. We will also communicate the same way this year,” race director Leo van Vliet told De Limburger.
Van Vliet hopes that this year the government would be more lenient than it was in 2020 when they postponed the race two weeks before it was scheduled. “The regional authorities strictly stuck to the national government’s rules. I know I have to look higher up this time.”
Van Vliet expects to speak shortly with the health minister.“We don’t want to get on a high horse because we see there are still many restrictions in the country. On the other hand, we think we can organise the Amstel Gold Race 2021 in a safe way. Look at the races in Flanders.”
Both the Amstel Gold Race 2021 for women and men are scheduled for the 18th of April. In a month, Van Vliet hopes to make a final decision. Mathieu van der Poel and Kasia Niewiadoma are the latest winners of the only World Tour race in the Netherlands.