The Amstel Gold Race is the first – and youngest – of the three Ardennes classics. Sponsored by the Dutch beer giant, the race is traditionally unpredictable, with its undulating parcours favouring anyone from puncheurs such as Philippe Gilbert, to pure climbers like Frank Schleck or Damiano Cunego. Surprisingly, it’s the only Dutch race to feature on the UCI WorldTour itinerary.
After last week’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Paris-Roubaix, the cycling season is effectively one-third of the way through, with 10 of the 28 events comprising the 2012 UCI WorldTour now complete. Cycling fans may not obsess about the WorldTour rankings in quite the same way that, say, English football fans do about the Premier League table, but you can be sure that the riders and teams do, given that they lay down a marker for securing new contracts for the former, and provide the gateway to the commercial riches of the Grand Tours for the latter. With that in mind, here’s a quick look at the latest rankings to see who the winners and losers are so far in 2012. Continue reading