Spinning wheels keep spinning across Europe, with a full week of racing in Poland, Portugal and Spain.
The ProTour calendar clicked back into gear with Saturday’s Clásica San Sebastián and Sunday with the start of the week-long Tour of Poland, which slotted into the calendar slot previously held by the now defunct Tour of Germany.
One of Europe’s most overlooked stage races — the Tour of Portugal — begins its 11-day trek on Wednesday while some of the top riders heading to the Vuelta a España later this month are using the five-day Vuelta a Burgos in northern Spain as a way to stretch their legs.
The Tour of Denmark features the highly anticipated pro debut by Taylor Phinney (RadioShack) as well as the return from injury by Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam).
Women’s stage racing continues with the Route de France.
67th Tour of Poland (ProTour)
Sunday, Aug. 1 to Saturday, Aug. 7
Created as part of the ProTour calendar back in 2005, the race has steadily grown and improved since then. The UCI is promoting it as way to develop racing in Eastern Europe.
Last year’s winner Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is back to defend his title. Tom Danielson, Tom Peterson and Peter Stetina (Garmin-Transitions), Ted King and Dominique Rollin (Cervélo), Bjorn Seelander (RadioShack), Craig Lewis (HTC-Columbia) and Chris Butler (BMC) are among the strong North American contingent.
This year’s route stays within Poland and is similar to last year’s trek through the mountains along Poland’s southern border. With its August date now assured, organizers can also hope for better weather and a chance to include more mountain stages.
The race started Sunday with Jacopo Guarnieri winning the first stage in Warsaw and taking the leader’s jersey.
32nd Vuelta a Burgos (Spain, 2.HC)
A favorite for Vuelta-bound mountain goats, this year’s edition is attracting a strong field.
The five-stage race includes a flat individual time trial and the demanding and decisive Laguna Neila summit finish on Sunday to assure excitement until the final pedal strokes.
Some of the top names include Giro runner-up David Arroyo, Juan Mauricio Soler and Maurzio Bruseghin (Caisse d’Epargne), the Feillu brothers (Vacansoleil), Simon Gerrans (Team Sky), Samuel Sánchez and Beñat Intxausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha).
10th Paris-Corrèze (2.1)
France, Aug. 4-5
The two-day French race draws a mix of national and European squads. David Moncoutie (Cofidis), who skipped the Tour de France, is the top rider. The Canadian-based Spidertech team will be gaining some European racing experience. This two-day French race has been won by the likes of Edvald Boasson Hagen in 2007 and Thor Hushovd in 2001, victories that came early in their respective careers before going on to bigger and better things.
20th Tour of Denmark (2.HC)
Aug. 4-8, Denmark
Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) lines up for this five-day Danish tour, his first start since crashing out of the Tour de France. Once again, the race draws an elite field, with a strong mix of ProTour and European teams. Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo) is also back following knee surgery that kept him out of the Tour.
Saxo Bank comes with a strong lineup that includes defending champion Jakob Fuglsang, Jens Voigt, Matti Breschel and Richie Porte. Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss will lead a strong HTC-Columbia team while Taylor Phinney will make his highly anticipated pro debut with RadioShack.
One of Europe’s oldest stage races, the Tour of Portugal is typically overlooked and forgotten. Held in the weeks after the Tour de France, the cycling media rarely gives the challenging and varied Portuguese tour its fair shake.
Strictly a national race in its early years, the race has attracted a more international field the past decade, with foreign riders hogging up the podium spots at the expense of Portuguese riders. Spanish rider David Blanco has won three of the past four editions.
Six Portuguese teams are joined by eight foreign teams. Blanco is back to defend his title, but will see a fight from Spanish riders David Bernabeu (Barbot-Siper) and Santi Pérez and Tino Zaballa (Loule-Louletano). The race also sees Andrey Kashechkin in a Lampre jersey for his third race with the Italian outfit since his comeback from a two-year doping ban.
39th GP Industria (Italy, 1.1)
Thursday, Aug. 5
61st GP Camaiore (Italy, 1.1)
Saturday, Aug. 7
Kimberly Anderson (HTC-Columbia) will be back to defend her title in the week-long race across northern France. Cervélo brings some strong firepower and the race should be a clash between the two super-teams. The route starts in Britanny and ends in the Vosges Mountains to assure a challenging week.