Lots of top riders in the 2012 Eneco Tour
On Monday, the 8th Eneco Tour starts in Waalwijk. At a last double press conference in both Waalwijk and Genk the organisers announced quite some names of ace riders.
Boonen is one of the big names in the Eneco Tour. (picture Belga)
his year's Eneco Tour was already known to be he comeback race of  Alberto Contador This year's Eneco Tour was already known to be he comeback race of Alberto Contador. The Spaniard from team Saxo Bank- Tinkoff Bank is joined by local heroes Nick Nuyens and Karsten Kroon. Many other UCI World Tour teams are eager to put down to good performances in the Low countries, judging from the strong field.

The composition of the strong Omega Pharma-QuickStep team was already known: Boonen, Martin, Terpstra and Chavanel. Rabobank enlisted Boom and fast men Bos and Renshaw. De Gendt, Westra and Boeckmans are the team leaders at Vacansoleil-DCM. Lotto Belisol is looking forward to performances by Greipel, Roelandts and Vanendert.
An ambitious BMC heads for Belgium and the Netherlands with a.o. From Avermaet, Phinney, Ballan, Quinziato and Burghardt. "The hottest team in town", Team Sky, brgins in riders like Hunt, Knees, Lövkvist and Sutton.. Team RadioShack-Nissan consists of riders such as Bakelandts, Hermans, Gallopin and Gerdemann. Dekker, Millar and Haussler Gland stand out at Team Garmin-Sharp.

Three wild cards have been allocated to Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda's and Argos Oil - Shimano. That team counts on the fast legs of Kittel and Veelers.


More than ever before the 2012 Eneco Tour offers a very varied course. The two time trials include a team time trial on Tuesday in Sittard, a dress rehearsal for the World Championships team time trial a month later. On Wednesday, part of the course of this year's World Championships is part of the stage between Riemst and Genk. In Aalter, Bergen-op-Zoom and Middelburg both stages and finishing straights are tailored for breakaways or bunch sprints. On the final day wait quite a hilly stage in the Flemish Ardennes awaits, with an uphill arrival on the Mur de Gramont (Muur van Geraardsbergen).

Local Mayor Guido De Padt had been disappointed by Tour of Flanders no longer passing through his Geraardsbergen, but he felt strongly about keeping the town on the map of professional cycling.

"Last time around the Tour of Flanders completely ignored our city. We could not leave it at that. Rob Discart's suggestion to organise a stage of the Eneco Tour was godsent. We discussed the idea at the city council and a cross-party decision was reached to sign a contract for the next five years. In that period Geraardsbergen will stage an arrival each year. The ultimate stage will arrive here three times. A time trial has also been scheduled too and the fifth stage is an uphill arrival during the stage race."


The Eneco Tour might evolve around the pros, the main aim is to reach out widely too. Each arrival sees an Eneco Kids Ride organised for children aged 7 to 12 years. Chaperoned by Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, Michael Boogerd and Ludo Dierckxsens, the kids can ride a part of the pro course. Registration is still possible, on location. For the slightly older ones and those who would like to compete against the clock, there is an opportunity to take on the entire Eneco Team Time Trial course. A perfect team building event for businesses, associations or for friends.


This year's Tour Miss has also been announced. The 25-year-old Belgian is Felice Dekens is Eneco Tour. She has a background in the media. In the Eneco Tour, Felice will be the hostess for both guests and participants of the Kids Rides and will celebrate the stage winners each day.
Watch the video about Felice Blankets


More than ever before, the Eneco Tour turns digital: the online live experience of the Eneco Tour has been optimised and has been extended to mobile. That way, every cycling fan will be able to follow everything from start to finish, wherever he or she is located. A unique cycling game has developed too: the Eneco Tour Live game. It is the first cycling game, in which players are allowed to change the riders in their team until the final stage, allowing them to adapt to changes in the race. However, the earlier you put in your top 5 for the stage, the more points you earn.


A few days before the start of the stage race, Cor de Ruijter is a happy man: "Eneco is proud of the Eneco Tour: the competition is a firm one, the license has been renewed for 4 another years, and there is a lot of media attention, ... But above all we're very keen on continued preservation actions in the Eneco Tour. This approach fits in nicely with Eneco's core strategy. "