The last stage race of the European calendar kicks off in the Wallonian city of Mouscron on Thursday, and 14 teams that participated in this year's Tour de France will take the start at the four-day race Franco-Belge (October 4-7). Four stage winners will be present with Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), Gert Steegmans (Quick.Step - Innergetic), Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) and Cédric Vasseur (Quick.Step - Innergetic).
Four of the riders who will participate in the race are planning their retirement at the end of this season. Vasseur, Nico Mattan (DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and Carlos Da Cruz (Française Des Jeux) will put the feet down at the end of the 2007 campaign.
Mattan and Vasseur have planned good-bye races. Vasseur will wave au revoir at his annual race with friends near Lille on October 27. And Nico Mattan will have his final race this Saturday, October 6, in Poperinge, Belgium.