Tour of Belgium preview

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

Happy birthday to Sebastien Turgot

Image courtesy of Europcar

Sebastien Turgot is 28 years old today. Bon anniversaire!

Europcar’s Turgot used every ounce of his track skills  – he was the French national Madison champion in 2008 – to narrowly beat BMC’s Alessandro Ballan in the Roubaix velodrome and take a well-deserved second place in Paris-Roubaix last weekend. Turgot’s the first French rider to make the podium since Frederic Guesdon (FDJ-BigMat) triumphed 15 years ago.

Turgot, who didn’t figure on anyone’s list of favourites (except perhaps his wife’s and mum’s) put in a series of attacks just before what turned out to be Tom Boonen’s race-winning move.

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Dwars door Vlaanderen review

There can be little argument that Omega Pharma-Quick Step have been the team of the first three months of this season. They have won more races than any other team, including overall victories at both the Tour de San Luis (Levi Leipheimer) and the Tour of Qatar (Tom Boonen). So, in a squad which boasts top Classics specialists such as Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel, it came as little surprise that an OPQS rider should win the cobbled Belgian semi-classic Dwars door Vlaanderen. However, it was Dutchman Niki Terpstra who laid claim to the top step of the podium after a long solo attack, taking the biggest win of his career.

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