The 80th edition of the Tour of Belgium started three days ago. It is a five day stage race which started in 1908. It has drawn great names of cyclocross riders from Europe. The 2008 World Cyclocross Champion Lars Boom took the leader’s jersey in last year’s races.
Today, the bikers will race through the 192km stretch to Mechelen and tomorrow for the 16.7km time trial. In Herstal, a hilly arena of 173km is the site of the final stage. The riders have completed two stages, one around 156km at Eeklo and a 162km cruise into Knokke-Heist.
At the starting line, the field was packed with tough cyclocross riders. Sven Nys is present with rival Sven Vanthourenhout. The Telenet-Fidea team includes Bart Wellens and Kevin Pauwels. Bronze medalist at Belgium’s Elite National Cyclocross Championships Tom Meeusen is also geared up to race with Rob Peeters.
Danny De Bie, team leader for Telenet-Fidea, shares his pleasure over the team’s efforts. “Bart is racing great. Wednesday he finished 22nd. Bart stays aggressive until the end, and he’s always motivated. In cyclocross this is his greatest asset, even on the road…. He is also not scared to join the battles in the nervousness of the final kilometers.”
Under BKCP-Pwerplus, powerhouse riders are there to amp up the race with 2009 world champion Niels Albert, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Italian cyclocross champion Enrico Franzoi, U23 rider Jim Aernouts and Radomir Simunek.
U23 world champion Arnoud Jouffroy also competes together with Dennis Mechov and Klaas Vantornout.