Ballot entries are now open for Amstel Gold Race sportive 2020. Taking place on Saturday 18 April 2020, a day before the pro race, the Amstel Gold Race offers a great chance to experience the only Dutch edition of cycling's Spring Classics.
Autumn is a season of anticipation for sportive cyclists, and while we were treated to early details of next year's Etape du Tour last week, it's the Spring Classics that come first.
Starting with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (29 Feb 2020) and climaxing with Liege-Bastogne-Liege (26 April 2020), the Spring Classics herald the traditional start of the cycling season in a riot of Belgian beer, bergs and of course the legendary cobbled pavé over two months of glorious, action-packed racing.
Most of these bike races have sportives attached, allowing amateur cyclists to ride the same roads the day before the world's elite professionals - and enjoy a long weekend in some historic European cities and regions at the same time.
Entries for most of 2020's Classics sportives have yet to open, but there is one notable exception: the Amstel Gold Race.
Now in its 54th year, the Amstel Gold Race sportive takes place on Saturday 18 April 2020, the day before the men's and women's pro races.
Starting in the picturesque town of Valkenburg, near Maastricht in the Netherlands' deep south, a choice of six routes are on offer. They range in length from 60km to a whopping 240km - a tall order at this early stage in the season, with around 3700m of climbing.
There are 15,000 places available on the sportive, so it's a big one. Entry is via a ballot which remains open throughout October. Places will be allocated randomly at the end of the month, with the entry fee of €50 only payable if you're successful in getting a place.
To enter the ballot, visit the event website and sign up at www.amstel.nl/amstelgoldrace.
If you're reading this after October when the ballot has closed, corporate entries may still be available - see the event website for details.
There are also usually package deals on offer (usually including entry and accommodation) with cycling tour operators such as Sportive Breaks.