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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacking on Hautacam
Post-Tour criteriums and Tinkov's Aston Martin promise to Majka
Tour de France 2015 to visit Brittany and L'Alpe d'Huez
The official route of the 2015 Tour de France will only be revealed in late October but several details have already emerged via the media.
The race starts in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, with a 13,7km time trial and then heads to the province of Zeeland, through the city center of Rotterdam where the Grand Départ took place in 2010, finishing on Neeltje Jans, an artificial island amidst giant dams.
On July 6 the second stage starts in Antwerp, Belgium but little is known of the rest of the route.
However Le Telegramme newspaper has claimed that there will be stages in Brittany in 2015. A time trial is expected to start in Avranches and finish in Fougères. Another stage will start in Dinan and finish in either Plouay or Plumelec, with a third stage starting in Quimper.
According to the several media sources, the legendary mountain finish at L'Alpe d'Huez will also be part of the Tour de France next in 2015. In a route that will run anti-clockwise, the Pyrenees will be tackled first, followed by the Alpes. In 2013 Ag2r-La Mondiale's Christophe Riblon won the stage on the iconic mountain finish.
Nibali set for a one million Euro Tour de France bonus
Vincenzo Nibali is set to collect a one million Euro bonus from his Astana team if he wins the Tour de France in Paris on Sunday.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Shark of Messina has clause in his contract with the Kazkhastani team, assuring him of the special bonus. Nibali signed a new contract after winning the 2013 Giro d'Italia and earns an estimated four million Euro per season.
Gazzetta dello Sport also estimates that Nibali and the Astana will take home close to 25% of the two million Euro prize money on offer at this year's Tour de France. As per tradition, Nibali will give his share to his teammates and the Astana team staff that have helped him win the race. The riders will likely collect a bonus of 40,000 Euro, while the staff will take home close to 5000 Euro.
Nibali to star at the post-Tour criteriums
Gazzetta dello Sport has also revealed that Nibali will be the star at a series of post-Tour de France citeriums immediately after the race ends in Paris on Sunday.
The Italian will head to Aalst in Belgium on Monday for the first of seven criteriums, traveling with his family, baby daughter and loyal domestique Alessandro Vanotti. He will then ride in Stiphout in the Netherlands (July 29) and Lommel in Belgium, (July 30).
Nibal is expected to travel to Cesenatico next Thursday to visit Marco Pantani's mother Tonina and give her a yellow jersey, as he promised before the Tour de France. Nibali is the first Italian to win the Tour de France since Pantani in 1998 and this year marks the tenth anniversary of 'il Pirata' tragic death.
Nibali will return to Belgium for other criteriums in Herentals, Saint-Nicolas, Ninove and then Surhuisterveen in the Netherlands. He is expected to celebrate with his official fan club in Tuscany on August 8 or 9 and perhaps even travel to Kazakhstan, before finally taking a break in the second half of August.
His success at the Tour de France has helped revive interest in cycling in Italy and Nibali will a have key role in the Italian national team for the world championship even if the course in Ponferrada does not suit him. He is expected to prepare for the world championships by riding a series of short stage races and one-day Classics.
Tinkov promises Majka an Aston Martin
After his victory in Risoul last Saturday, Oleg Tinkov promised Rafal Majka an Aston Martin if he won another stage in the Tour de France and now the Russian team owner has been forced to keep his word.
The 24-year old Polish rider won Wednesday's stage to Pla d'Adet and also took the lead in the polka-dot climber's competition.
According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Tinkov tried to go back on his word after they both appeared on the evening Vive le Vélo show on Sporza television. However Majka is determined to get his special bonus.