The Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx won the Amstel Gold Cup on Saturday (April 7) at Meercen in Holland.
The Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx won the Amstel Gold Cup on Saturday (April 7) at Meercen in Holland. Fellow Belgians Verbeck and Van Springel took second and third places in the 238 kilometres ???
Weather conditions were so bad that only 28 of the 159 starters crossed the finishing line.
The victory represented a triumphant confirmation of a return to form by Eddy Merckx who won the Ghent-Wevelgem race in Belgium on April 3th
SYNOPSIS: 159 cyclists left the starting line in the Amstel Gold Cup in Holland on Saturday. The 238 kilometre race - the only international event in Holland Holland's cycling calendar - is from Heerlen to Meerson. There were strong contingents from Holland, Belgium and France, although the Italians were missing.
The cyclist shot out in a hunch from the town of Heerlen and into the hilly open countryside of the south Limburg region of Holland. Among the contestants from all over Europe was Raymond Poulidor, the famous Franch rider.
The rain, hail and high winds which caused such problems in the Ghant-Wevelgem race in Belgium the previous week, again took their toll. Of the 159 starters only 28 finished the race.
The lead was taken up at a good pace by two of the Dutch team - Honny Kuiper and Joop Zoetemelke who was third in last year's race.
But Eddy Merckx pursued them relentlessly and caught them about 44 kilometres from home. From there on he pulled away steadily arriving at the finishing line four minutes ahead of the next competitor. The win represents a confirmation of Merckx's return to form; he seemed to be out of touch till he won the Ghent-Wevelgem race in Belgium on the 3rd April.
Although his was essentially a solo effort, he was followed into second place by his compatriot Varbeck. He had overhauled the two Dutch riders about 25 kilometres from home.
Fifteen seconds after him came Yen Springel, also of Belgium. It was an overall triumph for the Belgians who also took sixth place. Zoetemelk and kuiper were in fourth and fifth position.
The next major event for Merckx is the Paris-Roubalx race on the 15th April. In October 1972 he rode nearly 50 kilometres in an hour which experts said ranked with the greatest cycling feats of all time, and he has won the Tour de France for the lest four years running.