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28th Tour de Normandie - Preview
By Andy McGrath
Date: 3/24/2008
28th Tour de Normandie - Preview

The 28th edition of the Tour de Normandie gets underway tomorrow with a six-kilometer prologue time-trial around the town of Mondeville. This year’s event sees one of the most versatile and international fields in years. The Rabobank development team, who have put a rider on the top of the podium for the last four years, return again for 2008, but they will have to compete against several strong French domestic teams, as well as fiercely-competitive opposition coming from the likes of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Latvia and Russia. With Jérôme Pineau, Thor Hushovd and Thomas Dekker among the list of recent winners, this race is evidently a key stepping stone on the path to success in the professional ranks.

Monday 24 March – Stage 1: Mondeville ITT, 6km
Tuesday 25 March – Stage 2: Mondeville – Forges-les-Eaux, 198km
Wednesday 26 March – Stage 3: Forges-les-Eaux – Grand Couronne, 90km
Wednesday 26 March – Stage 4: Grand Couronne – Elbeuf-sur-Seine, 76km
Thursday 27 March – Stage 5: Elbeuf-sur-Seine – Flers, 201km
Friday 28 March – Stage 6: Domfront – Beaumont-La Hague, 197km
Saturday 29 March – Stage 7: Beaumont-La Hague – Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, 210km
Sunday 30 March – Stage 8: Bagnoles-de-l’Orne – Caen, 142km

The Contenders
Last year’s winner Martijn Maaskant has “graduated” to a contract with Slipstream, but the Rabobank team is still brimming with young talent. Jos van Emden, third in 2006, could be the man entrusted with leadership, but practically anyone on the team could do well.

Agritubel, buoyed by their Tour de France wild card invitation, lead the strong French domestic challenge. They will bring in-form Emilien Benoit-Berges to the race, as well as sprinters Kevin Ista and Anthony Ravard. Niels Brouzes (Auber 93) and Bretagne-Armor Lux pair Stephane Bonsergent and Jean-Luc Delpech will also be getting in the mix, as the home nation look to improve on its miserly single stage win last year.

Of the international teams (pause for breath), here are some men to keep an eye on, for both the overall and stage wins: Lasse Bochmann and Andre Steensen (Glud and Marstrand Horsens), 2007 runner-up Kristoffer Nielsen (Team GLS), Alexseij Saramotins (Rietmu Bank-Riga), Norwegian champ Alexander Kristoff (Team Joker-Bianchi), Tomasz Kiendys (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) and former ProTour riders Luke Roberts, Bram Schmitz and Alexei Markov, now with Kuota-Senges, Van Vliet-EBH-Elshof and Katyusha respectively.

Continuing their European season, Canadian squad Team R.A.C.E. Pro have secured a ride here. After a tough Nokere-Koerse (where none of their riders finished), the team will be looking to gain more experience here. Veteran ex-Navigators man Mark Walters spearheads their lineup.

28th Tour de Normandie - Startlist
Rabobank (Ned)
1. Thomas Berkhout (Ned)
2. Jos Van Emden (Ned)
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned)
4. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel)
5. Boy Van Poppel (Ned)
6. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned)

Agritubel (Fra)
11. Emilien Benoit-Berges (Fra)
12. Maxime Bouet (Fra)
13. Cedric Coutouly (Fra)
14. Kevin Ista (Bel)
15. Cedric Hervé (Fra)
16. Anthony Ravard (Fra)

Auber 93 (Fra)
21. Niels Brouzes (Fra)
22. Steve Chainel (Fra)
23. Christophe Diguet (Fra)
24. Jérémie Galland (Fra)
25. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra)
26. Florian Morizot (Fra)

Bretagne-Armor Lux (Fra)
31. Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra)
32. Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra)
33. Guillaume Le Floch (Fra)
34. David Lelay (Fra)
35. Yoan Lelarge (Fra)
36. Piotr Zielinski (Pol)

Team R.A.C.E. Pro (Can)
41. Mark Walters (Can)
42. Ryan Roth (Can)
43. Dan Timmerman (Usa)
44. Kevin Miller (Can)
45. Dustin Macburnie (Can)
46. Mark Pozniak (Can)

Davitamon-Win for Life-Jong Vlaanderen (Bel)
51. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel)
52. Lars Croket (Bel)
53. Steven De Neef (Bel)
54. Ken Devaere (Bel)
55. Gregory Joseph (Bel)
56. Pieter Muys (Bel)

Glud & Marstrand Horsens (Den)
61. Lasse Bochmann (Den)
62. André Steensen (Den)
63. Jacob Kodrup (Den)
64. Michael Berling (Den)
65. Jacob Nielsen (Den)
66. Kasper Schonnemann (Den)

Team GLS-Pakke Shop (Den)
71. Jacob Moe Rasmussen (Den)
72. Martin Pedersen (Den)
73. Roy Hegreberg (Nor)
74. Kristoffer Nielsen (Den)
75. Thomas Kristiansen (Den)
76. Christopher Stevenson (Swe)

Team Kuota-Senges (Ger)
81. Laurent Didier (Lux)
82. Frank Van Dulmen (Ned)
83. Yannick Maus (Ger)
84. Mathias Jelitto (Ger)
85. Florenz Knauer (Ger)
86. Luke Roberts (Aus)

Rietmu Bank-Riga (Lat)
91. Aleksej Saramotins (Lat)
92. Kalvis Eisaks (Lat)
93. Arturs Ansons (Lat)
94. Mart Ojavee (Est)
95. Sergey Firsanov (Rus)
96. Alexander Mironov (Rus)

Van Vliet-EBH-Elshof (Ned)
101. Joost Van Leijen (Ned)
102. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned)
103. Roel Egelmeers (Ned)
104. Ivor Bruin (Ned)
105. Bram Schmitz (Ned)
106. Maurice Vrijmoed (Ned)

Team Joker-Bianchi (Nor)
111. Joachim Bohler (Nor)
112. Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
113. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor)
114. Stian Sommerseth (Nor)
115. Svein Erik Vold (Nor)
116. Frederik Wilman (Nor)

Team Legia (Pol)
121. Lukasz Modzelewski (Pol)
122. Bartolomiej Malysiak (Pol)
123. Marek Cichosz (Pol)
124. Adam Sznitko (Pol)
125. Piotr Krajewski (Pol)
126. Pawel Charucki (Pol)

CCC Polsat-Polkowice (Pol)
131. Krzysztof Jezowski (Pol)
132. Tomasz Kiendys (Pol)
133. Tomasz Lisowicz (Pol)
134. Jaroslaw Rebiewski (Pol)
135. Marek Wesoly (Pol)
136. Peter Mazur (Pol)

Katyusha (Rus)
141. Alexei Markov (Rus)
142. Alexey Kunshin (Rus)
143. Yan Ketoev (Rus)
144. Roman Klimov (Rus)
145. Andrey Solomennikov (Rus)
146. Timofey Kritskiy (Rus)

Atlas Romer's-Hausbackerei (Swi)
151. Nico Graf (Ger)
152. Andreas Henig (Ger)
153. Timo Honstein (Ger)
154. Igor Leonovich (Ger)
155. Felix Odebrecht (Ger)
156. Marcel Wyss (Swi)

Beveren 2000-Quick Step (Bel)
161. Bert De Backer (Bel)
162. Maarten De Jonge (Ned)
163. Gert Dockx (Bel)
164. Sven Jodts (Bel)
165. Stijn Joseph (Bel)
166. Logan Hutchings (Nzl)

CC Nogent sur Oise (Fra)
171. Grégory Barteau (Fra)
172. Franck Charrier (Fra)
173. Benoit Daeninck (Fra)
174. Brice Feillu (Fra)
175. Kevin Lalouette (Fra)
176. Raphael Lesage (Fra)

USSA Pavilly Barentin (Fra)
181. Guillaume Blot (Fra)
182. Alexandre Bosquain (Fra)
183. Gaylord Cumont (Fra)
184. Jérôme Fremin (Fra)
185. Guillaume Malle (Fra)
186. Nicolas Suzanne (Fra)

Normandie (Fra)
191. Tony Cavet (Fra)
192. Julien Mesnil (Fra)
193. Frédéric Lecrosnier (Fra)
194. Steven Le Hyaric (Fra)
195. Alexandre Lemair (Fra)
196. Antoine Dy (Fra)

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