The 51st edition of the Four Days of Dunkirk kicks off in Dunkirk on Wednesday with a 154 km stage to Marcq-en-Baroeul. The five day race will not feature a time trial this year, and instead will be decided in five standard road stages.
The first stage is a 154 km leg from Dunkirk to Marcq-en-Baroeul, which contains the climbs of Mont Cassel, Mont des Cats, and Mont Noir. Stage 2 is the longest, 204 km between Marcq-en-Baroeul and Lens, but over fairly flat terrain. Stage 3 from Liévin to Sangatte Cap Blanc Nez over 194 km features the only uphill finish, and should start to break up the field. Stage 4 is the hardest, and consists of six laps of a 23 km circuit plus an additional 30 km for a total of 173 km. The circuit contains four climbs per lap, and tends to slowly shred the field by day's end. The final stage is a fairly flat 165 km between Bourbourg and Dunkirk.
20 teams will start, including six ProTour teams: Davitamon-Lotto (Rodriguez, Van Bon), Bouygues Telecom (Voeckler), Cofidis (Casper), Crédit Agricole (Moreau, Hushovd), Française des Jeux (Gilbert), Team CSC (Breschel), as well as continental teams MrBookmaker-SportsTech (Hunt, Van Dijk, VDB), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago (De Waele), AG2R Prévoyance (JP Nazon), Agritubel (Brard), Chocolade Jacques-T-Interim (Eeckhout), Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil (Marzoli), Team Barloworld (Efimkin), Team Wiesenhof (Kopp), Ed'System-ZVVZ (Svorada), Navigators (Grichkine), Relax-Fuenlabrada (Florencio), Naturino-Sapore di Mare (Nauduzs) and Intel Action (Bodnar).
Stage 1 - May 4: Dunkirk - Marcq-en-Baroeul, 153,7 km
Stage 2 - May 5: Marcq-en-Baroeul - Lens, 204,1 km
Stage 3 - May 6: Liévin - Sangatte Cap Blanc Nez, 193,6 km
Stage 4 - May 7: Boulogne sur Mer - Boulogne sur Mer, 173,4 km
Stage 5 - May 8: Bourbourg - Dunkirk, 165,5 km