Eneco & Limousin

Two contrasting races start today.

The ENECO Tour is the former Benelux Tour, taking in Holland, Belgium and normally Luxembourg, and today named after race sponsor ENECO, a Dutch energy company. It’s a race that favours sprinters, although the stages include the Mur de Huy and there’s a tough final time trial to settle the overall. It takes place though some of Europe’s most crowded areas, where countryside and greenery are at a premium, each piece of land is used to the max, whether for building or intensive farming.

Tour du Limousin
By contrast, the Tour du Limousin takes place in one of France’s most deserted regions, where forests and open land for the reddish Limousin cattle dominate the landscape. It’s not for sprinters, the stages can end in a dash for the line but the lumpy terrain dulls the legs. I remember reading that last year Irish rider Dan Martin set a new power record simply by riding in the bunch, the constant up-down and twists and turns on the road saw riders having to be active all day long.

Both races are decent wins in their own right but they also offer others a build up to the Vuelta, some race miles in the legs.

TV coverage
Some European fans should be able to find coverage of the ENECO on TV. although today Italians might might find the Tre Valli Varesine race. Internet browsers should take a look at cyclingfans.com later to find a legitimate or pirated internet stream with live race coverage.