• Philippe Gilbert and Simon Gerrans share a beer on the podium after the 2014 Amstel Gold Race (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
With three Amstel Gold Race victories to his name Philippe Gilbert will the be the man to beat when the peloton tackles the Cauberg on Sunday.
By
Cycling Central

19 Apr 2015 - 10:45 AM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2015 - 4:46 PM

SBS will broadcast the Amstel Gold Race live from 10.30pm AEST on SBS ONE with live streaming here at Cycling Central.

The 32-year-old BMC rider indicated he is in good form when he finished third in Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, which was won by his team-mate Ben Hermans.

Gilbert will be the sole leader of the BMC team for the 258km race and will have the support of Hermans, Sameul Sanchez and Greg van Avermaet who finished third in Paris-Roubaix last weekend.

While Gilbert may be in race winning form, Simon Gerrans who finished third in Amstel Gold last year, is still struggling to get back to his best.

Gerrans has had a slow start to the season - breaking his collarbone in December last year and then fracturing his elbow at his season debut at the Strade Bianche in March.

The former Australian champion has only five stages of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in his legs heading into the Ardennes week, which is usually a main focus for the defending Liege-Bastogne-Liege champion.

"Unfortunately my preparation for the Ardennes Classics has been far from ideal this year. I have had quite a few set backs, however I feel that my form is improving with every race and actually with every training ride, so I am on the right course," Gerrans wrote on his website.

“Realistically I am not 100 per cent which is really disappointing, but in saying that I know once I get out there I will do everything I can to achieve a good result for myself and the team."

Instead of fighting for the victory after having finished third three times, Gerrans will ride in support of team-mate Michael Matthews, who finished second in the Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl warm-up.

Matthews will benefit from Gerrans' experience with the 34 year old having raced every edition of the Dutch race since 2007.

"We have a really experienced team racing Amstel with guys who have raced together at the Ardennes for the last few years. We have a tight-knit team that know what it takes to do well on the day," said Gerrans.

"As far as the race goes, Amstel has a really aggressive course with a lot of corners and a lot of hills which makes for a selective race.

"The weather has a huge impact of what goes down at the end of Amstel. If there is no wind or like last year a slight tailwind from the top of the Cauberg to the finish, then it will be very difficult to bring back any late attacks. If it is anything but, or maybe a slight headwind then there is a very good chance that a small group will come back together after the Cauberg and be sprinting for the win.

"Philippe Gilbert will be the man to beat at Amstel on Sunday. He has a really impressive track record at this race and on this course and will be the man that everyone is watching."

SBS will broadcast the Amstel Gold Race live from 10.30pm AEST on SBS ONE with live streaming here at Cycling Central.