Somewhere in England(near South Harting)
Team Museeuw-Onimpex strip revealed
Preparations are hotting up for the London to Paris Cycle Tour, which takes place from 29 June to 1 July. In its 4th year, the ‘Professional Event for Amateurs’ has attracted a field of 200 riders including former Continental pros Sean Kelly and Johan Museeuw.
The 2007 edition will feature for the first time a team competition with teams of four riders. The first teams to be announced include Team IBC, led by 2006 winner Jerone Walters and including last year’s King of the Mountains Michael Blann, former GB hockey star Chris Bloor and Anthony ‘the Locomotive’ Schroeder.
Team Lend Lease has former GB triathlete Amthony Shippard and elite mtb racer Richard Vail, and there’s the mixed Team Trainsmart with fitness expert Mark Clarke leading Antonia de Barton Watson, Mark Sinclair and Rachel Przybylski. Two teams take part from The Tudor Group, and are joined by Team Ashurst and last year’s Fundraiser’s Jersey winner Anthony Burnett-Scott.
Classics legend Johan Museeuw joins Eurosport commentator, LeTourGuide.com columnist and Museeuw’s leadout man Dave Harmon, Onimpex boss Ken Jones and RCUK editor Richard Hallett in Team Museeuw-Onimpex, which will doubtless be spending most of the event riding tempo somewhere in the bunch.
The route is split into three sections, the first running from Hampton Court to Portsmouth, where the event will board the overnight ferry to St Malo before departing for the second stage to Alencon. Stage 3, of course, runs from Alencon to Paris. On both French stages the event will enjoy rolling road closures, and will include rally-style timed special stages that will determine the overall standings, with non-competitive liaison sections in between to allow the riders to regroup. The riders will be split into three groups travelling at an expected 25km/h, 30km/h and 35km/h respectively.
The first stage route was reconnoitred by a small group in late May, and was found to be both challenging and exceptionally scenic. Major difficulties include the Hog’s Back, the one-mile ascent to Hindhead that will be used to determine the early KoM ranking, and the climb of South Harting hill after some 130km. Rumour has it that Kelly is as fit as ever, and that Museeuw has been training hard in Tuscany with former Mapei team-mate Andrea Tafi. Watch this space.