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Van der Poel, Dumoulin to race Benelux Tour

Mathieu van der Poel wore the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France
Mathieu van der Poel wore the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Organisers of the Benelux Tour (formerly BinckBank Tour) have announced a provisional start list packed with star power including Tour de France stage winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and former Giro d'Italia champion Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma).

The seven-stage race begins on Monday, August 30 in Surhuisterveen and finishes on September 5, featuring an 11.1km individual time trial and the same Geraardsbergen finale where Van der Poel claimed the overall victory in 2020.

The date overlaps with the Tour of Britain, meaning that Van der Poel will be unable to defend his title from 2019, the last edition of that race after its cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also on the start list will be a number of Belgian riders vying for inclusion in the country's team for the UCI Road World Championships. The Benelux Tour, with several stages running through the Flemish Ardennes and hills of Limburg, is well suited to preparation for Worlds, and Belgian coach Sven Vanthourenhout will be using it for his final selections.

Expect to see Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen (AG2R Citroën), Tiesj Benoot (Team DSM), Philippe Gilbert and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) putting on a show.

Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) have also been named on the provisional start list.

2021 Benelux Tour

  • Stage 1 - Monday, August 30: Surhuisterveen - Dokkum, 169.9km
  • Stage 2 - Tuesday, August 31: Lelystad (ITT), 11.1km
  • Stage 3 - Wednesday 1 September: Essen - Hoogerheide, 168.3km
  • Stage 4 - Thursday 2 September: Aalter - Ardooie, 166.1km
  • Stage 5 - Friday 3 September: Riemst - Bilzen, 188km
  • Stage 6 - Saturday 4 September: Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve - Houffalize, 207.6km
  • Stage 7 - Sunday 5 September: Namur - Geraardsbergen, 180.9km