One day before the only time trial of this Tour de France the peloton had to cover a stage of 208.5 kilometers from Maubourguet to Bergerac. This happened most of the time in the pouring rain. The Lithuanian rider Ramunas Navardauskas jumped away on a climb in the final and became the winner. A crash in the last kilometers made an end to the sprint plans of Lotto Belisol.
Lots of rain
Crash holds up the peloton
From Saturday 26th of July until Wednesday 30th of July the Tour de Wallonie is scheduled. This stage race from the Europe Tour is contested by teams of seven riders. Jens Debusschere will ride his first race in the jersey of Belgian champion. He is accompanied by among other Maxime Monfort, who comes back after a crash in the Tour de Suisse.
The Tour de Wallonie consists of fifteen stages, there is no time trial. The first stage there are actually two big laps with three hills, among it the Kluisberg. This stage and the one on Sunday offer the best chances to the sprinters. In stage three escapees have a chance or there can be a sprint of a reduced peloton. On Tuesday there are eleven climbs on the course. The last one is the Mur d'Amay at 17.2 kilometers from the finish in Waremme. On the last day the riders get to do the final of Liège-Bastogne-Liège with the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, the Côte de Saint-Nicolas and finish at Côte d'Ans.
Bart Leysen, sports director: "Apart from Jelle Vanendert, who rode the Tour of Austria, everyone comes back in competition after a period of rest. For Jens Debusschere it will be a stimulus all year long to be able to wear that Belgian jersey. He's our man for the sprint, together with Kris Boeckmans. Tosh Van der Sande can survive the short climbs and is definitely fast when a small group gets to the finish. The first two stages can definitely end with a bunch sprint. The third stage it's uncertain."
"The team is put together so that we have a man for each type of stage. We want to race offensively. Jelle Vanendert and Maxime Monfort are our GC contenders. Although I expect Tosh should be able to set a good result as well. Pim Ligthart and Tim Wellens can join breakaways and can finish the job. Tim became eighth in the overall classification last year, so he can aim for a good GC as well. The last day is the toughest. At the end it's almost identical to the final of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Before that there are six other hills. It will be difficult to control with teams of seven riders. Wednesday will be decisive."
Selection Lotto Belisol: Kris Boeckmans, Jens Debusschere, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Bart Leysen.
Today the last mountain stage of the 101st Tour de France was programmed, from Pau to Hautacam. Jurgen Van den Broeck lost contact with the group of favourites on the Col du Tourmalet and lost several minutes. In GC he lost one place and is thirteenth now.
At the start of the stage there were a number of attempts to set up a breakaway. Also Adam Hansen was active. After Huzarski and Oss had created a gap, eighteen others joined them. Kadri, Nieve and Voeckler were some of the other leaders. Astana kept control, the front group never got more than four minutes. After two climbs of third category it was time for the Col du Tourmalet. Jurgen Van den Broeck had to let go of the group with favourites. He could rely on the support of Tony Gallopin and Adam Hansen. He crossed the finish line as 36th and is thirteenth now.
On the final climb to Hautacam Vincenzo Nibali took off for a new stage victory. He caught Mikel Nieve, the last of the escapees, and rode solo to the victory again. Thibaut Pinot, who climbs to the second place in GC, became second in the stage. Rafal Majka, owner of the polka dot jersey, finished as third.
Yesterday the Tour caravan stopped in Carcassonne for the second rest day. That doesn't mean there wasn't any activity in the team hotels, on the contrary. Lotto Belisol soigneur Kurt Wouters tells about his schedule.
9:30 - 13:00
In July we provide you with four new wallpapers! From now on you can download the third one.
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Also this season cycling fans can visit the e-shop of Lotto Belisol. Go cycling in the Lotto Belisol colours! For the youngest fans kids' sizes are available. We also offer leisure wear. Next to the traditional items the e-shop offers race hats and socks. Gadgets are available as well, e.g. a pack of postcards.
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