FLOWERS FOR DORA INSTEAD OF RAAS - AMSTEL GOLD RACE

14 April 2021 By Sjuul Bos History

This Sunday, it is finally time for the biggest Dutch cycling classic: the Amstel Gold Race. This one-day race was founded in 1966 by the two former team managers Ton Vissers and Herman Krott. The current record holder of this classic is, as many of you already know, Jan Raas, with no less than 5 victories. It is therefore not surprising that the Amstel Gold Race is often called the Amstel Gold Raas.

AMSTEL GOLD RACE 1977

The first time Raas won the race was in 1977. In that year, Raas had become part of the Frisol cycling team, after he had left TI-Raleigh ( he actually rejoined in 1978). The reason for leaving was a discussion between Raas and his TI-Raleigh team leader Peter Post. Raas wanted to get a protected position in the team, but this was not given and so he left. Thus, he won the Amstel Gold Race in 1977, especially to piss off Post. In doing so, he beat two former teammates Gerrie Knetemann and Hennie Kuiper on the way to the finish line. 

Jan Raas winnaar Amstel Gold Race 1977
Jan Raas across the finish line of the 1977 Amstel Gold Race, passing his former teammates Knetemann and Kuiper.
 

(OVERLY) ENTHUSIASTIC JOURNALISTS

Raas was happy with his performance, but he was not the only one. The journalists also wanted to know everything about his victory, especially after he had beaten the TI-Raleigh team, including Post. Originally, Raas would have been picked up from the race that year by his brother, but he could not find him anywhere. He therefore stopped at the first house near the finish line and asked the woman who lived there if she had seen his brother. Before he could even hear the answer, he was already pushed into the house by the curious-to-hear-everything journalists. He therefore asked the lady if he could use her living room as a press room, to host his conference. Whether by enthusiasm or pressure, she allowed him to do so. And so his bicycle was placed in the corridor against the standing clock and the press conference could begin. 

The following years brought other victories of Raas at the Amstel Gold Race. And after that one time, his press conference after every victory was held in the "old familiar" spot : the living room of the Mullenders family. And every year, even in 1977, he gave the victory bouquet to the lady of the house, Dora Mullenders. 

Amstel Raas winnaar Amstel Gold Race 1978
Winner Jan Raas at the 1978 Amstel Gold Race, with the bouquet that was then to be found in the Mullenders house.
 
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