On Saturday, a new era began for the European Cycling Championships, with the 2016 edition to be held in Nice from September 14-18. Traditionally open to the youth categories, the European Championships will now feature a time trial and a road race for the “Elite”, which will start from Monaco. Vincenzo Nibali, Philippe Gilbert, Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador, among others, have already confirmed they will ride in order to add the new starred jersey to their collection.
With the announcement made by David Lappartient, European Cycling Union President, and Christian Estrosi, Nice Mayor and President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council, of a new event that will be introduced to the programme of the European Championships, it is also the perspective of a title or an additional medal that is now the goal. And the nascent project may already be the object of a reconnaissance ride in race conditions on the final weekend of Paris-Nice.
Associated with the UEC for the preparation and organisation of the championships, A.S.O. has provided its intimate knowledge of the region to design the route that will be especially familiar to followers of Paris-Nice. The final 12.5km circuit, for which the number of laps to be completed will adapt to the different categories, will take the riders over the Col d’Eze several times (four times for the Elite). The veterans will rediscover the ambiance of 2009 Tour de France, because the road races will start in Monaco. The routes for the time trials, which will finish in front of the Allianz-Riviera, after crossing the Var region, will be the chance for the strong men to shine.
Vincenzo Nibali said: ‘’I am very happy to return to the European Championships, in which I participated in the Espoir category in 2004, in Estonia. I raced in the time trial and finished in 8th place. It was a very nice experience to wear the jersey of the Squadra Azzura, and I will be thrilled to do it again in a few months on this demanding course that awaits us between Nice and Monaco.”
Fabio Aru added: “This will be a new experience for me. A new European Champion title is good for our sport. Additionally, I am thrilled because it will be a home race for me because our team Astana installed its European base in Nice.”
Alberto Contador said: “I have some very particular memories of the course of these Championships: my first major victory was in Nice in 2007, and we had to ride over the col d’Eze.”
Wednesday 14 September
ITT Junior Women (11 km) / ITT Junior Men (20 km) + ITT U23 men (32 km)
Thursday 15 September
ITT Elite and Espoir Women (20 km) / ITT Elite Men (37 km)
Friday 16 September
Road Race Junior women (51 km) / Road race Espoir men (138 km)
Saturday 17 September
Road Race Elite + Espoir women (113 km) / Road Race Junior men (113 km)
Sunday 18 September
Road Race Elite men (215 km)
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alberto contador ASO Col d'Èze european championships Fabio Aru nice philippe gilbert UEC Vincenzo Nibali