Cycling Races After Tour
Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam, ‘Bau and Lau’, took part in the first ‘criterium’ after the Tour de France in Boxmeer, Limburg. The winner of the Tour de France, Christopher Froome was not present in Boxmeer, but rode the criterium in Aalst Belgium, and won.
After the Tour de France it means earning money for the riders. To show up only, at such a short race, already earns them thousands of euros. The organisers of the criteria, like the one in Boxmeer, are busy all winter to make appointments and contracts with the riders. During the Tour, the popularity of some riders can change and therefore the last negotiations take place during the Tour de France. Riders who end high in the general classification in the Tour can ask more money than riders who were not successful in the Grand Boucle.
This year the Belkin duo, ‘Bau and Lau’, did very well in the Tour de France. As a consequence the organisers try to get them to their race. The popular Mollema and ten Dam made ‘acte de presence’ in Boxmeer, only one day after they finished in Paris. Despite the about 3400km they just rode in the Tour and especially after the tough last days in the Alps, they don’t go for an easy holiday. Money has to be earned and this is the time.
On Monday the cycling stars started in Boxmeer for a race over 80km. Mollema who escaped together with Wout Poels, finished first. The successful sprinter of this years’ Tour, Marcel Kittel, finished in Boxmeer as the third, only a few seconds after Mollema and Poels.
32-Year-old Laurens ten Dam, who was already a couple of years present in Boxmeer after the Tour, was excited to see so many people. “It is really nice to see that people reward the efforts that we did in the Tour. It was never so busy here in Boxmeer.”
The organisers of the criteriums are nevertheless complaining. The say that their budget is 20% lower this year and that with that little money they have to pay more for the successful Dutch riders. Foreign cycling stars are even more difficult to get. “It are tough negotiations,” says Martin van Steen of the consulting bureau Cycling Service. I am proud that we have contracted Chris Froome for Stiphout (23 juli), Surhuisterveen (30 juli) en Etten-Leur (11 augustus) and that the runner up, the Colombian Nairo Quintana, will be present at the ‘Draai van de Kaai’, het criterium of Roosendaal.