August 6-12, 2012, Waalwijk, Belgium and The Netherlands, Road - WorldTour

Eneco Tour 2012

This seven-stage WorldTour event in Belgium and the Netherlands is seen as a key warm up for the Vuelta a España, which begins less than a week after the finish here. The race made its first appearance in its current guise in 2005, when it replaced the Tour of the Netherlands, and since then some of cycling's biggest names - such as Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert and Edvald Boasson Hagen - have all enjoyed success here.

 

Boasson Hagen has won the general classification twice (2009 and 2011) in the last three years and the points classification for the last three years in a row. His appearances at the Tour de France and the London 2012 Olympics mean that he will not be here to defend his titles, but the eyes of the world's media will be focussed keenly on the Lowlands because this year's renewal sees the return of Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) from his six-month suspension.

 

Contador's return is the big story here but the race has also attracted a host of other big names and promises to be an exciting one. Riders such as Boonen, Marcel Kittel, Sylvain Chavanel, Lars Boom, Jelle Vanendert and David Millar should ensure that Contador won't have all of the headlines to himself.

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