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Monday's Winners

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So much bike racing, so little time...

While today marks a relative pause in the winter warm-up schedule, this week will be another busy one. The Mallorca trophies will be handed out through Thursday. But the Tour Mediterraneen (Route du Sud?) kicks off five days on Wednesday, followed by the Vuelta a Andalucia, a/k/a Ruta del Sol (5 days) and Tour of California (8 days) starting Sunday.

The Med has a nice website with what looks like an official participation list posted. Some highlights from the list: defending champ Cyril Dessel heads AG2R; Lampre (Bennati and Ballan) and Milram (Celestino, Astarloa) look deep, while Chicchi and Fedrigo and others will be there to sprint. Also Tyler Hamilton, who apparently is trying to fit three years of race days in, will lead his frisky Russian troupe. There's an opening ITT, plus a few days of climbing around the Maritime Alpes before finishing the last day over the Cipressa, Poggio and into San Remo... which would explain all the Italian teams showing up.

The action might be hotter over in Andalucia. They too have a useful website with a nice-looking racer program. I can't read enough Spanish to get the narrative course description, and if the little mountains on the map are any indication, it's a typical Spanish climb-fest. Hopefully there'll be plenty of bunch sprints though: the lineup includes Boonen, McEwen, Napolitano and Freire among the fast men. Last year Petacchi and Boonen battled three times in five days, so we can hope. Other big names: Cunego, Hoste, Evans, Garcia Quesada ('06 winner), Gerdemann, Schreck, Mayo, Simoni, Koldo Gil, and the most vaguely threatening name in Cycling, Angel Vicioso.

We'll have our Tour of California preview up in a day or two. Right Drew?