The 23rd edition of the Ster Elektrotoer will begin this year in Gemert with a 7km individual time trial on June 17 and will run through June 21.
Last year, Gemert hosted the finish of the final stage. It drew a massive audience to watch Mark Cavendish take the bunch sprint. The support the race received in Gemert motivated organizers to return to the city again in 2009.
"Gemert offers an excellent local organization led by an enthusiastic community. Last year, the town provided a great atmosphere, with a packed city center. We come back here very happy," said organizers.
"The riders will deal with a varied but mostly flat track in the prologue," said Eddy Bouwmans. The Gemert resident, a former professional cyclist, won the race that was the forerunner to the current Star Elektro Tour, the Teleflex tour in 1997. This year, he is involved with local organizers in Gemert.
"When I won, it was more of an amateur than a professional race," said Bouwmans, reflecting on the changes he's seen over the years to the event. "The race has grown significantly in recent years and now draws the interest of major international cycling teams."
For several years, the race has served as good preparation for riders' national championships and the Tour de France. Last year, nine ProTour teams were represented, and another strong field is expected to return in June.