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Nine riders to watch at the Eneco Tour

Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Geraint Thomas… the 2016 Eneco Tour boasts an impressive start list, but who will win?

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Eneco Tour

The penultimate race in the 2016 UCI WorldTour1 calendar kicks off on Monday: the Eneco Tour2 (September 18-25). The eight-stage race is hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium and features flat stages, hilly stages, a team time trial and an individual time trial. A host of top names will be taking part this year, as the race has shifted from its usual August date into September due to the Olympic Games3. It is ideally placed to offer top-level racing for those wishing to sharpen their form before the 2016 UCI Road World Championships4 in Doha, Qatar, in October, as well as gain some valuable WorldTour points.

Here we take a look at some of the leading contenders

Peter Sagan, Tinkoff

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Peter Sagan. Photo: Graham Watson

Peter Sagan5 has to be considered a contender for almost every race he enters, even week-long stage races like the Eneco Tour. The world champion who remains within striking distance of Nairo Quintana s lead in the World Tour has never competed in the race before, but the combination of sprint stages, short time-time trial and finale based around the cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen plays very well to his strengths.

Greg Van Avermaet, BMC

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Greg Van Avermaet. Photo: Graham Watson

The best season in Greg Van Avermaet6 s career got even better last week, when he followed up gold in the Olympics road race with a win at the GP de Montreal. The Belgian is one a very select few in the peloton whose all-round capabilities can be compared to Peter Sagan s, with whom he ll renew his rivalry

Geraint Thomas, Sky

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Geraint Thomas. Photo: Graham Watson

There aren t many riders better suited to the Eneco Tour s near unique blend of classic parcours and stage racing than Geraint Thomas7, and the Welshman ought to be able to mount a serious GC challenge. Sky also line up with Ian Stannard, who, fresh off his stage win in Cheshire at the Tour of Britain and sprinter Elia Viviani, who is one of several riders fine-tuning preparations for next month s World Championships.

>>> Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour8

Tim Wellens, Lotto-Soudal

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Tim Wellens. Photo: Graham Watson

As overall winner in both 2015 and 2014, Tim Wellens will surely be more stringently marked than in those previous two editions, where he was able to slip away on a long-range attack on the penultimate stage. This year s equivalent stage has been toned down with less hills included, which may also hinder his chances to attack.

Niki Terpstra, Etixx-QuickStep

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Niki Terpstra. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

From sprinters Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria, classics specialists Zdenek Stybar and Tom Boonen and strong time-trialists Tony and Bob Jungels, Etixx-QuickStep have options for all the varying terrain the Eneco Tour has to offer. Perhaps their best for GC is former Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, who finished third overall in 2012, and, despite a quiet Vuelta, could be on decent form having won the Dwars door het Hageland-Aarschot last month.

Tom Dumoulin, Giant Alpecin

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Tom Dumoulin. Photo: Graham Watson

Back in 2013, a 22-year old Tom Dumoulin9 hinted at what he was capable of in stage racing by finishing second overall at the Eneco Tour. Three years later, he s now most people s pick for best time-trialist in the world, a good enough climber to contest Grand Tours, and fully capable of going one better and winning the Eneco Tour this time around.

Fabio Felline, Trek-Segafredo

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Fabio Felline. Photo: Graham Watson

Unlike most other overall contenders, Fabio Felline enters the Eneco Tour with three weeks of hard racing in his legs from the Vuelta. Having ended that race strongly, the Italian who used his all-round talents to win the points classification might possess the extra stamina needed to better his fifth place overall finish last year.

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Dimension Data

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Edvald Boasson-Hagen. Photo: Graham Watson

A rejuvenated Edvald Boasson Hagen10 has been enjoying his best season since his peak years between 2009-2012, during which time he won a record-equalling two overall classification of the Eneco Tour. He s not going quite as well as earlier in the season, but still looks capable of competing for the overall.

Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data

Nine Riders To Watch At The Eneco Tour

Mark Cavendish. Photo: Andy Jones

Boasson Hagen will have to share leadership with Mark Cavendish11, who like many sprinters at this race, is using the flatter stages to help train for the upcoming Worlds in Doha. He ll face stiff competition, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), as well as the Etixx-QuickStep duo of Kittel and Gaviria, are among those eying up the bunch sprints.

References

  1. ^ WorldTour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Eneco Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Olympic Games (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ UCI Road World Championships (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Peter Sagan (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Greg Van Avermaet (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Geraint Thomas (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ >>> Geraint Thomas to lead Team Sky at Eneco Tour (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ Tom Dumoulin (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ Edvald Boasson Hagen (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  11. ^ Mark Cavendish (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

Too brutal for sprinters: Teams prepare their climbers for mountainous Vuelta a España

Big sprint names are few and far between in the Vuelta a Espa a start list, with 10 summit finishes on the cards

Too Brutal For Sprinters: Teams Prepare Their Climbers For Mountainous Vuelta A España

in action during Stage 11 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana

The 2016 Vuelta a Espa a1, starting Saturday in Galicia, features little for the sprinters, making teams leave home their fast men for climbers and classification riders. None of the sprint stars will line up in this year s three-week grand tour, preferring instead a combination of the Cyclassics Hamburg and the Tour of Britain2.

Mark Cavendish3, blown away by last year s course watching from Britain, said that the Vuelta4 has become crazy with so many summit finishes.

>>> Vuelta a Espa a 2016 start list5

This year, 10 of the 21 stages are summit finishes6. Only the final stage can guarantee a bunch sprint. Team Tinkoff said that, stage 13 should provide the sprinters with a somewhat rare opportunity for a stage win if they can conquer the succession of climbs in the middle of the stage.



Cavendish, Marcel Kittel (Etixx Quick-Step), Andr Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and other top names, like upcoming sprinter Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange), will prepare elsewhere for the sprint-friendly World Championships in Doha, Qatar. The Vuelta s top sprinters for 2016 include lesser-known names like Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data).

We have the team built entirely around Steven Kruijswijk, Sports Director Addy Engels said.

A team with men who strongly ride uphill, as well some guys for the flats.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome7 will be supported with a similar roster of climbers and rouleurs. Nairo Quintana8 (Movistar), too.

>>> Vuelta a Espa a 2016 route features 10 summit finishes (video)9

Froome indicated there is no room for the sprinters and called the Vuelta tough course this year. Sky s top gun, Italian Elia Viviani is returning home from winning gold in the Olympic Omnium10 and is racing in Hamburg on Sunday. Only Giant-Alpecin believes in the sprinters chances. There should be plenty of opportunities for a fast finish during the three weeks, explained Sports Director Luke Roberts, who is bringing Nikias Arndt.

Etixx said that the sprinters have few opportunities to take centre stage and left out Kittel. Instead, it takes non-household name, Belgian Gianni Meersman.

Too Brutal For Sprinters: Teams Prepare Their Climbers For Mountainous Vuelta A España

Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) battle it out in the final metres of stage nine of the Vuelta a Espa a (Sunada)

Australian Caleb Ewan, who won his first grand tour stage last year in the Vuelta, will race in Hamburg and the Bretagne Classic Ouest-France the following Sunday.

We are heading into the Vuelta a Espa a with one very clear objective, said Orica-BikeExchange Sports Director Neil Stephens. And that is to achieve the best possible general classification result that we can with Esteban Chaves. Javier Guill n, the Vuelta s race director, defended his race for having the right amount of mountain stages and said that it is not the place to come if one wants to prepare for the worlds.

We don t want this race to be a training race for other races, Guillen told Cycling Weekly last year.

I think we are in the right position, this is what we want and like.

Some people don t like it, some do.

References

  1. ^ Vuelta a Espa a (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Tour of Britain (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Mark Cavendish (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ said that the Vuelta (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ >>> Vuelta a Espa a 2016 start list (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ 10 of the 21 stages are summit finishes (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Tour de France winner Chris Froome (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ Nairo Quintana (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ >>> Vuelta a Espa a 2016 route features 10 summit finishes (video) (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ winning gold in the Olympic Omnium (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive ballot now open for entries

Riders can now enter the ballot for a place in the RideLondon 100 miles sportive, with entries to the 46 mile event set to open at a later date. The RideLondon weekend will take place from Friday to Sunday, July 28-30 2017

RideLondon-Surrey 100 Sportive Ballot Now Open For Entries

Riders in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 pass through Richmond Park. Photo by Jed Leicester for Prudential RideLondon

The ballot for the RideLondon1-Surrey 100 sportive is now open. The entry window will remain open until 17:00 on January 6, 2017, or when 80,000 riders have submitted their interest. Those wanting to take part but looking for a shorter riding distance can enter the second year of the 46 mile sportive when a separate ballot opens on March 1 next year.

The 100 and 46 mile sportives will take place on Sunday July 30, 2017, at the end of a three-day festival of cycling. Organisers are set to confirm the sportive routes nearer the time as they assess and review this year s events. In previous years the maximum entry figure has been reached in advance of the cut-off date. That is expected to be the case again, meaning there will be more than three people going for every one of the 25,000 public places in the closed road sportive.

Those who miss out in the ballot can apply to one of the many charities involved with the RideLondon2 weekend or await any reallocation of spaces that occurs after people withdraw their interest. In addition, riders can put themselves forward to be part of the Fixing Challenge . This comes off the back of the Fixing Dad documentary, which was made by the Whitington family as they helped their father lose weight and reverse his type-2 diabetes through cycling.

>>> Five invaluable tips to help you step up from riding 60 to 100 miles3

The 100 mile sportive is the main event in a weekend festival of cycling. As of 2016 the events stretch over three days, with youth races and stunt shows in the Lee Valley VeloPark on the Friday evening. Events on Saturday include the FreeCycle, where a loop of Central London is entirely closed to vehicles allowing families and others who might not usually cycle to get on two wheels and make the most of the capital.

The London Cycling Campaign also runs led rides from elsewhere in Greater London to transport less confident riders to the FreeCycle route.

>>> Why RideLondon has a recipe for success that other races should follow4

Later on the Saturday evening is the Classique women s race, a criterium past some of London s most famous sites. It will be interesting and very welcome to see if the women s event is extended to a full road race for 2017, perhaps preceding the men s event on Sunday. RideLondon s main events come on the Sunday of the three-day weekend, with the 100 and 46 mile sportives heading out of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and finishing on The Mall.

The men s race, which will be a WorldTour event from 20175, then races out into Surrey before also finishing on The Mall.

References

  1. ^ RideLondon (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ RideLondon (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ >>> Five invaluable tips to help you step up from riding 60 to 100 miles (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ >>> Why RideLondon has a recipe for success that other races should follow (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ will be a WorldTour event from 2017 (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

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