News shorts: 2015 Tour de France in Belgium

Belgium Bound

The 2015 Tour de France may spend three days in Belgium, according to Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure. The opening three stages have already been confirmed. Next year’s Tour will start in Utrecht, The Netherlands with a short opening prologue. After a second stage start in Utrecht, the race will move to Belgium for stage three and a ride from Antwerp to Liège.

According to the newspaper the race will then go south to Huy, but didn’t say whether the riders would take on the famous Mur de Huy. Finally, on July 8, the race will feature a stage finish in Seraing before finally returning over the boarder to France. The full 2015 Tour de France route will be revealed in Paris on October 22.

Tour de Suisse Route

The organisers of the Tour de Suisse have announced the initial route for the 2015 edition of the race. The course has been planned around a series of ‘hub’ cities where the race will be based for a number of days in order to minimise transfer times.

The race will begin on Saturday June 13, with the riders staying in Rotkreuz for the first two stages. Saturday will be a short prologue time trial, with a circuit race the following day. The peloton will head briefly south from Brunnen to Olivone on stage three, before moving back up north for stage four from Flims-Laax to Schwarzenbach SG.

Stage five will venture into Austria for Queen stage and the summit finish on the Rettenbach glacier, which often hosts a round of the Ski World Cup during the winter. From there the riders will travel back west with stage six beginning in Wil and ending in Biel. They will briefly dip into French Switzerland the next day before the stage finish in Guin.

The 2015 Tour de Suisse will then go to Bern for the final two days, with a circuit around the city and concluding with a time trial. The full route will be announced in March 2015.

Going up in the world

The Dubai Tour has gained 2.HC status for the second edition of the race. The four-day stage race has been bumped up a category from the 2.1 that it was awarded for the inaugural edition in February this year.

The change in status brings it in line with the already established Tour of Oman and Tour of Qatar. It will also allow the organisers Dubai Sports Council and RCS increase the number of WorldTour teams from 50 to 70%.

Taylor Phinney won the first edition of the Dubai Tour. The American claimed victory in the opening prologue, beating his teammate Stephen Cummings by 15 seconds. Marcel Kittel won all three of the sprint stages.

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