For the first time in its history, the European Cycling Championships will be open to elite riders. Vincenzo Nibali, Philippe Gilbert, Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador are all expected to be on the start line. It has also been announced that the five-day competition will take place in Nice between September 14 and 18.
Inaugurated in 1995, the European Championships has traditionally been solely for junior and under-23 riders. However, an announcement was made in Nice ahead of the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice that an elite men’s time trial and road race will be added to the competition. The event is affiliated with the European Cycling Union (UEC), with Tour de France organisers ASO pitching in to help design the courses.
’I am very happy to return to the European Championships, in which I participated in the Espoir category in 2004, in Estonia. I raced in the time trial and finished in 8th place. It was a very nice experience to wear the jersey of the Squadra Azzura, and I will be thrilled to do it again in a few months on this demanding course that awaits us between Nice and Monaco,” Vincenzo Nibali said in a press release.”
Each of the road race events will start in the Principality of Monaco and end with a 12.5km lap that will take the riders over the Col d’Eze – similar to that featured in Sunday’s final stage of Paris-Nice. The number of laps will be determined by the category, with the elite men taking on the Col d’Eze loop four times to end their 217km race. The time trial routes are also set to be challenging as it ventures into the mountainous Var region before finishing on the Allianz-Riviera.
“I have some very particular memories of the course of these Championships: my first major victory was in Nice in 2007, and we had to ride over the Col d’Eze,” said Alberto Contador.
There will also be elite women’s road races and time trials, which will take place in conjunction with the Espoir women.
Programme for 2016 European Championships
Wednesday, September 14: ITT Junior 2omen (11 km) / ITT Junior Men (20 km) + ITT U23 men (32 km)
Thursday, September 15: ITT Elite and Espoir 2omen (20 km) / ITT Elite Men (37 km)
Friday, September 16: Road race Junior women (51 km) / Road race Espoir men (138 km)
Saturday, September 17: Road race elite and Espoir women (113 km) / road race Junior men (113 km)
Sunday, September 18: Road race elite men (215 km)