“The Ardennes are races of attrition. The terrain alone wears you down mentally and physically. Add aggressive racing to that mixture and no matter your placing you’ll likely be smashed by the time you reach the finish line. Stamina and panache will win the Ardennes,” Alexis Ryan.
Ryan joins teammates Alena Amialiusik, Elena Cecchini, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Kasia Niewiadoma and Trixi Worrack when they line up for CANYON//SRAM Racing on Sunday 15 April for Amstel Gold Ladies Race. The Dutch classic, brought back on to the women’s calendar last year after a 13-year hiatus, marks the opening of the Ardennes week. La Flèche Wallonne Fémminine and Liége-Bastogne-Liége Femmes quickly follow.
The 116km course for Amstel Gold Ladies Race on Sunday has 17 official climbs, including three ascents of the infamous Cauberg in Valkenburg. Niewiadoma, who finished third in last year’s edition said all of the Ardennes races are challenging.
“You have to fight with your own weaknesses from the start until the finish line! You need to be alert and attentive all the time. If you lose your focus, even for a few minutes, there is no place inside the race for you anymore!”
“I like Amstel Gold Race in particular because it reminds me of my first steps in professional cycling and I like to reflect about this adventure which brought me to the place where I am right now,” said Niewiadoma with a smile.
“To win any of these races you have to approach them with a lot of confidence, knowledge of the parcours, good shape and faith in your team. You can only win it with your team. No one wins the Ardennes races alone,” added Niewiadoma.
The race starts at 10:50 CET, can be followed on Twitter with #UCIWWT and is expected to be broadcast live from 13:25 by NOS Studio Sport.