Why not try a continental sportive that allows you to ride a distance to suit, view the Classic the following day in an area that has attractive scenery, excellent local beer and plenty to see and do for non-cycling friends and family.
The Amstel Gold Tour on Saturday 18thApril ticks all of those boxes. We can cross the channel Friday evening, ride the Saturday, watch the Amstel Gold race – numerous times as the route is crammed into a small area you can move around in by bike or car – on the Sunday and get home late Sunday night. The drive from the channel portsto the Limburg region where the race takes place takes around 3 hours.
The shortest route is 60km, the longest a tad short of 250km and apart from the race’s Maastricht city centre start and some short stretches of main road, you follow the route of the professional race. The landscape is not unlike the Chilterns: flat valleys, flat ridges and short, sharp hills in between. The 60km route would be fine for a fit child, the 250km is definitely a tough day day in the saddle. There are 100,125, 150, and 200km routes too. The finish closes at 7pm, which leaves plenty of time for completion, especially for the shorter routes. When I did it four years ago, I found that the en-route feeding stations were very basic – not much more than stops for sports drink , but you pass endless bar/cafes so getting food, drink and a rest is no problem. The organisation is excellent, starts are well staggered and I never felt the road was overwhelmed by the 15000 participants.
Maastricht is one of the Netherlands most attractive cities and quite different from any other large Dutch town. The surrounding area has a lot to offer too, so it’s a great weekend break for non-cyclists too.
Costs: Entry is 25 Euros plus a 5 Euros deposit. A ferry return by car about £60-£70. I will arrange accommodation once we have numbers and we can share cars. You will need travel insurance cover and your European Health Insurance Card, but there is no need for medicals or racing licences.
Interested? Entry opens on January 15th and last year it filled up very quickly.I will put a Willesden team entry in on that day. If you want to ride, email me at before January 15thwith entrant names and planned distance (we don’t all need to do the same distance) and your phone number -I will acknowledge your email. Alternatively, call me on xxxxxxxx. I may be able to squeeze in people later, but there is no guarantee.