Les Autres Tours
Whether you cycle to work, cycle for fun at the weekends, or – like us at Carry on Cycling – work with cyclists every day, you will have heard of the Tour de France, and most likely some of the other big cycle races on the UCI tour. But what about the less well known competitions?
Some of these provide the perfect excuse for a day in front of the TV, or even a short break with the family!
The Tour de Slovénie
This 2.1 category race is held towards the end of June every year, with this year’s four stages as follows:
- Stage 1. Ljubljana to Ljubljana, an 8.8km individual time trial.
- Stage 2. Škofja Loka to Kočevje, 182km.
- Stage 3. Dubrovnik to Trije Kralji, 178.5km with a flat start and a summit finish.
- Stage 4. Rogaška Slatina to Novo Mesto, 165.5km.,/li>
Team Sky rode in the Tour de Slovénie for the first time this year, with a seven-man team:
- Mikel Nieve
- Phil Deignan
- Nathan Earle
- Andrew Fenn
- Chris Sutton
- Xabier Zandio
- Salvatore Puccio
With Nieve coming off a 17th place finish in this year’s Giro d’Italia, and achieving 2nd place in the Tour de Slovénie general classification, he is in a good position to be included in Team Sky’s nine-man Tour de France team.
The Tour de Suisse
This World Tour even has been running since 1933 – breaking only in 1940, and 43-45. Along with the Critérium du Dauphine it is considered one of the great ‘proving grounds’ for the Tour de France.
Its nine stages between the 13th and 21st of June are made up of a couple of time trials, and some challenging ascents, including the 2669m Rettenbachferner in the 193.1km stage 6. After crashing out in stage 4 last year, when riding for Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins has not returned to the Tour de Suisse. His focus is on readying his team with regular road races in preparation for a major assault on the titles in the 2016 season.
However, Welshman Geraint Thomas lead the 8-man Team Sky cohort to a great race, placing 2nd, and seeing teammates Henao (11th place), Siutsou (21st), and Knees (39th) all performing well.
Tour des Fjords
Another category 2.1 stage race, the Tour des Fjords is not to be confused with the Tour of Norway!
Traditionally a chance for the Scandinavian and Nordic riders to show off on home ground, this year was no exception, with the first three stages being won by Norwegian Alexander Kristoff for Team Katusha, Stage 4 by Dane Søren Kragh Andersen for Team Trefor – Blue Water, and Stage 5 by Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen for MTN – Qhubela.
The overall winner was Austrian Marco Haller, for Team Katusher, with Andersen placing second, and Andersen’s teammate Michael Olsson of Sweden in third.
The highest placing Brits this year were Erick Rowsell (24th) for Madison Genesis, and Adam Yates (35th) for Orica-GreenEdge.
With the Vuelta a España and the Tour de France still to come this season, keep a look out for Thomas, and teammate Chris Froome.