August preview: The summer heats up

The ProTour schedule for August means that all teams will be racing for almost every day of the...

The ProTour schedule for August means that all teams will be racing for almost every day of the month. Les Clarke takes a look at what's in store for the ProTour and the Women's World Cup, both of which will keep riders and teams busy right throughout the remainder of summer.

After a tiring July for ProTour teams as they battled their way around France, August is upon us, and with it the ProTour and Women's World Cup get right back into the swing of things. With five ProTour events, plus two women's World Cup rounds, it's one of the season's most demanding periods as the season is far from finished.

The calendar for August ProTour races:

August 3-10: Eneco Tour of Benelux
August 13: Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
August 15-23: Deutschland Tour
August 27 - September 18: Vuelta a Espana
August 28: GP Ouest France-Plouay

Women's World Cup schedule:

August 20: Grand Prix of Wales
August 27: GP de Plouay

Five ProTour events fill the four weeks, with two being one-day events (Clasica San Sebastian and GP Ouest France-Plouay), two shorter stage races (Tour of Benelux and Deutschland Tour) and a Grand Tour (Vuelta a Espana) thrown in for good measure. Some observers make the point that August is no busier than April, when there are eight ProTour events, including the cobbled classics of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. The difference, however, is that April's races are mostly single-day events, with the longest race being the Tour de Romandie, which lasts six days. The total number of days racing in April is 17, whereas in August there are 24 days spent slugging it out against the world's best over half a dozen countries.

In April, riders are relatively fresh and working into some form - in August they are either carrying form over from the Tour de France or coming out of mid-season races and training blocks. It's sure to stretch riders to the limit both physically and mentally, and potentially causes plenty of headaches for team management.

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