The Eneco-Tour starts today and finishes on Sunday. What do you need to know?
All flat, expect a bunch sprint. To give you an idea of the flatness of this stage: they didn't even bother drawing a couse profile.
Flemish Ardennes, Pays des Collines and Brabantse Pijl hills. On the menu: Côte de Trieu/Knokteberg, Kruisberg, the über awesome Mont Saint Laurent, Mont d'Ellezelles (two hairpins!), Alsemberg and Bruine Put. From the top of the Bruine Put, there's still 13km to go to the finish, but it looks like the final km goes uphil too.
Mont Saint Laurent is an unknown, but brutal hill in the heart of the Pays des Collines. It's like a cobbled Berendries. The top lies at 109km from the finish, so I don't know if we'll see this one on TV, a shame!
All flat again (= no profile), but a lot of dutch dams and dikes, so if there's a bit of wind, here's a good chance we'll get to see echelons.
More flatness. From Essen (Belgium) to Vlijmen (Holland). Vlijmen is the town where Lars Boom was born and raised. Are the organizers expecting something?
A 13,2km ITT that will be imporant for the GC. Two short hills on the course.
Ardennes awesomeness: Muizenberg, Côte de Halembaye, Côte de Fôret, Côte de Banneux, Côte de La Redoute (three times!), Côte de Chambralles (steep! they climb his one twice) and the Côte de Niaster.
The finish line is drawn a few hundred meters after the top of the third Redoute ascent. Expect awesomeness. And Philippe Gilbert.
Muur, more Muur and a bit of Bosberg. Three ascents of the Muur, two of the Bosberg and some of my favorite training hills (Hurdumont, La Houppe Ten Bosse, Eikenmolen,...) Finish on top of the Vesten, the cobbled foot of the 'real' Muur.
Sprinters: Greipel Kittel, Degenkolb, Demare,Viviani, Keukeleire, Petacchi, Nizzolo, Farrar, Bos, Brown, Bennati, Swift, Van Poppel, , Bozic, Guarnieri, Tsatevich, Bozic, , Koldo Fernandez, Rojas Gil, Ventoso, Hutarovic, Appollonio, Van Staeyen, Napolitano, Van Dijk, Oss.
TT-guys: Wiggins (!), Westra, Devolder, Boom, Tjallinghi, Phinney, Chavanel, Jungels, Tuft, Durbridge, Dowsett.
Stagehunters:Gilbert, Moser, Terpstra, Stybar, Breschel, Leukemans, Roelandts, Bakelandts, Pozzato, Kelderman, Monfort, Iginsky, Spilak, Navardauskas, Nuyens, Dumoulin, Langeveld, , Offredo, De Vreese, Van Hoecke, Scheirlinckx.
Broerie's little extra:
A picture of Petacchi (and Keisse) training with my regular training group earlier this week.