It's the week after the Tour and that means the riders can beef up their bank accounts by riding criterium races. Mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium but there are also show races like this in other countries. It is a public secret that these races aren't real races (anymore), if you have to pay the TdF-stars tens of thousands of euro's you do not want them to finish anonimously in the pack. I don't know if the actual finish order is arranged pre-race or they just say to the tour-stars to battle for it among each other. I guess the approach differs between places.
In an interview Gerry van Gerwen who coordinates the distribution of riders among the Dutch races Contador can ask €100.000 for an appearance. That's where (part of the) true financial gain of winning the Tour is made!
For fun's sake: let's track the results of the different races. Last year there even was an overall classification among the Dutch criteriums. Laurens ten Dam won in 2009. He will focus on preparing for the Vuelta this year I think.
Monday July 26th: Daags na de Tour Boxmeer (since 1975). Winner last year: Andy Schleck
Result: 1. Lars Boom 2. Niki Terpstra 3. Andy Schleck
(looks like the result you'd expect in a true sprint with these three riders)
Tuesday July 27th: Profronde van Stiphout (since 1980). Winner last year: Contador
- Participants: a.o. Contador, A. Schleck, Gesink, Fuglsang, Knaven, Tankink, Tjalingii, Niermann
Result: 1. Gesink 2. A. Schleck 3. Contador
Tuesday July 27th: Natourcriterium Roeselare (1ste edition)
- Participants: a.o. Hushovd, van den Broeck, Basso, Gilbert, Barredo, de Weert, Cancellara, Breschel, Szmyd
Result: 1. Hushovd 2. van den Broeck 3. Cancellara
Tuesday July 27th: Critérium de Lisieux (since 1981)
- Participants: Moinard, Pineau, Syl. Chavanel, Charteau, Gadret, Riblon, Casar
Wednesday July 28th: Welser Innenstadt Kriterium (12th edition).
- Participants: a.o. Greipel, Kreuziger, Cavendish, Eisel
Thursday July 29th: Gala Tour de France Luxembourg. Winner last year: Fränk Schleck
Friday August 6th: Mijl van Mares (49th edition). Winner last year: ten Dam