Stage 16 – Limone sul Garda to Falzes/Pfalzen, 173km
Stage profile: The final week opens with a profile which is uphill virtually all day. A sting in the tail sees a 2.3km section at 8.6% inside the final 5km which includes a short section of pavé for good measure, but this is a day tailor-made for the breakaway artists rather than the GC contenders.
Top three: 1. Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), 2. Alessandro De Marchi (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) +0:16, 3. Stef Clement (Rabobank) same time.
The Tour of Belgium (Ronde van Belgie/Tour de Belgique) is an annual five-day stage race which this year will be run from Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27th May.
I say annual but there have been interruptions. The race wasn’t held during both world wars, only periodically during 1982-1990 and not at all from 1991-2001. However, from 2002 it has once again been a regular fixture on the annual cycling calendar. In 2005, following the start of the UCI ProTour, it looked as if the race might be merged with the Eneco Tour, but it survived and is now a fixture on the UCI Europe Tour.
Nine riders have won the Tour of Belgium twice and only two – one of whom’s Eddy Merckx – have achieved consecutive wins. Continue reading