One of the most unpredictable major classic races in the cycling world and the toughest one to win is the Amstel Gold Race. As of this date, there are only three riders who ever won the Dutch Classic on two occasions: Eddie Merckx, who won it twice in the 1970s and Gerrie Knetemann in 1974 and 1985, and fellow Dutchman Jan Raas, who bagged six victories within 1977 and 1982. However, these winnings occurred long before Amstel was to be a renowned International Classic Race.
The Amstel Gold roster has been recently altered by the volcanic eruptions of the mountain Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, spewing dark volcanic dust into dark hovering clouds over most parts of Europe. Among the 25 participating teams, eight will not be able to compete in full force.
The cloud of volcanic ash has not just thwarted the races in the European Continent but also stopped the Kelly Benefits Strategies team in racing to the Tour of Battenkill due to unavailability of flights to America.
Alejandro Valverde, Luis Pasamontes and Luis Leon Sanchez cannot make it with Caisse d’Epargne to include other big names such as Carlos Sastre of Spain (Cervelo), the 2008 winner of the Tour de France, Portuguese Sergio Paulinho of RadioShack and Bradley Wiggins of Sky.
Riders who decided to leave earlier as scheduled made it to Maastricht. Chris Horner of USA and teammate Tomas Vaitkus took a 1400 km ride on the back of a car to get to the race while the Haimar Zubeldia of Spain journeyed with his former team Euskaltel.
Via Bike World News