2021 Amstel Gold

Grace Brown, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Underdogs For 2021 Women's Amstel Gold

Grace Brown, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Underdogs For 2021 Women's Amstel Gold

While all eyes will be fixated on the favorites, several riders in the peloton will be looking to upset their plans at Sunday’s Amstel Gold.

Apr 15, 2021 by Rebecca Reza
I&F: Cav & Amstel Both Back In 2021

This Sunday, the Amstel Gold Race returns after its 2020 hiatus. While many eyes will be fixated on 2019 top finishers Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon // SRAM) and Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar Team), there are several riders with a shot at upsetting the two favorites. 

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Read on for FloBikes top four women with a chance at winning the first of the Ardennes classics.  

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 

After a frustrating seventh-place finish for Uttrup Ludwig at the Tour of Flanders, the Dane is ready to take revenge on Sunday in the hunt for her first World Tour victory at Amstel Gold. Sunday will be her 4th participation in the race and in 2019 she confirmed her potential on the hilly course with a 6th place finish. 

The 25-year-old is known for her firm positivity whatever the outcome of a race, but her versatility in all terrains will surely play to her advantage on the circuits. While matching Trek-Segafredo and SD Worx strength in numbers will be difficult, she will have Giro Rosa stage winner Evita Muzic alongside her and Marta Cavalli, who was with her in the final at Strade Bianche. 

 

Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange)

Among such a talented field, it was a difficult decision to list Brown as an underdog in the Ardennes Classics after her breakthrough performance at Liège – Bastogne – Liège last fall.  She won the lead up race to Amstel Gold last season - De Brabantse Pijl – but has chosen to skip defending her title in order to arrive fresh on Sunday. She has adapted well to the leaders role in her third year racing as a professional, following the departure of Annemiek Van Vleuten last season. She celebrated her first World Tour victory in March at the Oxyclean Classic Brugge – De Panne, and finished third at the Tour of Flanders. 

 

Kristen Faulkner (Team TIBCO – SVB) 

In only her second season racing professionally, Faulkner has consistently impressed, notching three top-ten finishes in her current spring campaign. She was tenth at the Tour of Flanders after being in the chase among seasoned veterans including the current World Champion Anna Van der Breggen. The Harvard grad admits she finds it difficult to realize she is racing against the top women in the world after only discovering the sport in 2016. What she lacks in tactical knowledge, she makes up for in natural talent. She will have veteran and road captain for TIBCO – SVB, Lauren Stephens to help guide her on Sunday, along with Australian Sarah Gigante who finished just outside the top ten at Dwars door Vlaanderen.   

 

Soraya Paladin (Liv Racing)

The Italian sprinter earned four top-ten finishes last season, and was instrumental in helping her teammate Lotte Kopecky earn a second place finish at Gent-Wevelgem a few weeks ago. Kopecky has opted to skip the Ardennes Classics and end her spring campaign before her next block of racing, allowing Paladin to seek personal ambitions Sunday should the opportunity present itself. The team has yet to confirm a road captain for the race, though Canadian Alison Jackson is likely to take the lead. Paladin won the mountains classification at the Giro delle Marche in Rosa and was second on GC at the Vuelta a Burgos in 2019, a testament to her strength and versatility.