The next-up European stage race, the Circuit Franco-Belge, will take place from Thursday, September 29 to Sunday, October 2, and involve plenty of spring classics parcours for the 18 teams participating. Last year, overall classification was won by Jimmy Casper (Cofidis), and Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) each won a stage. In 2005, the latter two will not be present at the race - nor will Nico Mattan (Daviatmon-Lotto), as he was injured in a bad crash in the Omloop van de Vlaamse Scheldeboorden on Tuesday.
The stages of the Circuit Franco-Belge outline as follows:
Stage 1 - Thursday, September 29: Komen-Estaimpuis (202,7 km)
Stage 2 - Friday, September 30: Leffrinckoucke-Poperinge (155,6 km)
Stage 3 - Saturday, October 1: Maubeuge-Quievrain (211,1 km)
Stage 4 - Sunday, October 2: Cuesmes-Doornik (154,6 km)
The teams participating are: Cofidis, Davitamon-Lotto, Quick Step-Innergetic, Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim, MrBookmakerSportsTech, Rabobank, Française des Jeux, T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner, CSC, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole, Liquigas-Bianchi, AG2R, Agritubel, RAGT-Semences, Team Wiesenhof, Belgian Espoir team.