The Tour de l'Ain/La Route du Progrès returns to the international cycling calendar for 2005 after missing a year in 2004. The four-day race starts August 7 in St Vulbas and finishes August 10 at Lelex Monts Jura. It has traditionally favoured climbers with Christophe Oriol winning in 2002 and Ludovic Turpin en 2003.
The biggest test for any rider with ambitions of winning will be the Col du Grand Colombier, which makes its return to the race this year after being missed for the last two editions. With sections of 14 percent gradient it will provide a tough finish to stage 3 as it climbs to the finish at 1501m altitude.
The final stage is also a big one, with four categorised climbs including the Col de la Faucille (1340m altitude) and Menthières (1136m).
Teams signed up to ride this year's race include Discovery Channel, Quick Step, Lotto Davitamon, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole, Francaise des Jeux, AG2R Prevoyance, RAGT Semences, Cofidis, Rabobank, and Agritubel.
The Tour de l'Ain will be accompanied by the Mozaic Tour, for under 16 riders in teams of five.