Post Tour crits rosters

Italy's Danilo Di Luca, winner of the Giro d'Italia, took victory in the first post-Tour de France criterium in Belgium on Monday in the town of Aalst, edging out current Belgian champion Stijn Devolder in a sprint. The weeks following the Tour are always packed full of criteriums, with fans in Belgium and Holland, the traditional home of the post-Tour crits, coming out in their tens- and some times even hundreds-of-thousands. That was the case in Germany in 1997, the year Jan Ulrich won the Tour, when over 500,000 spectators turned up to the German take part in a 'local' criterium.

For places like Holland and Belgium, where cycling is an imbedded part of the culture, the criteriums are seen as a return to the grass-roots for the riders. Typically junior riders begin their careers in 'races around the church' so to see the biggest professionals come back to race these races is a spectacle for the fans. For the riders, it is always good for their popularity to come back to their home country and meet their fans; of course the hundreds of thousands of Euros in start money on offer doesn't hurt either.

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