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GP Ouest France-Plouay: Don't Forget About Us!

This is shaping up into one of the busiest weekends of Cycling in some time: the USPROs running in Greenville, the Vuelta kickoff stage, and the GP Plouay, a race that dates back to the Hoover Administration.

The latter, a full-on Pro Tour demi-classic, will probably steal the show. The GP Plouay is one of the key warmups for the World Championships, and while warmup races can be frustrating to watch as riders hold their cards closely, this isn't the case with the Worlds. Franco Ballerini, for example, has been unnecessarily outspoken in his desire to see results this weekend from Danilo DiLuca (and perhaps Pippo Pozzato)... so "warmup" means "show me what you've got."

The course is a 19km circuit that consists of three climbs in the 1+km, 7% range, and they run the circuit 11 times. This puts it in line with, say, Amstel Gold as far as the effort required, and apparently a good run-up for Stuttgart too. That said, there may be nothing preventing the race from a 75-man bunch finish, as has happened occasionally. The riders have to make the race, or the sprint teams will make this a forgettable day.

Plenty of media: Cycling.tv will have video, and over at the official site there's something called Plouay TV which I gather will be another video stream.

As for who will win? The big names include DiLuca, Moreau, Pozzato, Ricco, Schleck x 2, Cancellara, Jens!, Gusev, Yaro-pop, Hushovd, Nuyens, etc... but apart from George Hincapie, the past winners list is not exactly littered with big names. Remains to be seen if the race's utility as a worlds selection test brings out the big stars. I'll go with Nuyens in a breakaway, or Gerald Ciolek in a mass sprint. You?