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Boivin back in action at the BinckBank Tour as WorldTour ramps up

Giro d'Italia and Ardennes Classics also begin this week

This week Guillaume Boivin follows up the World Championship road race with the BinckBank Tour, which starts Tuesday with a sprinter’s route from Blankenberge to Ardooie in Belgium. The five-stage race is the first WorldTour contest since the Tour de France, which finished on September 20. It’s a hot week for the men’s and women’s WorldTours, as Ardennes Week and the Giro d’Italia begin.

The 16th BinckBank Tour–rebranded after 44 editions of the Ronde van Nederland–has a 10.9-km time trial sandwiched between two sprint stages before two hilly Classics days. Winners over the past few years have been riders like Tom Dumoulin, Tim Wellens, Niki Terpstra and Laurens De Plus.

On Wednesday, the men’s and women’s La Flèche Wallonne roll nearby. Julian Alaphilippe, winner of the last two editions, will wait to debut his rainbow jersey until the next Ardennes Classic, but five-time winner Anna van der Breggen will be sporting her new world champion duds in the women’s race. Canadians Leah Kirchmann, Alison Jackson, Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin, Hugo Houle and James Piccoli will be racing “The Walloon Arrow.”

Saturday sees the start of the Giro d’Italia in Sicily. So far only Alex Cataford is slated for Canadian representation.

Sunday is Liège-Bastogne-Liège day for the men and women’s WorldTours. If Alaphilippe’s world championship is a dream come true, what do you call winning his second Monument in the rainbow jersey? He was runner-up to Alejandro Valverde in 2015. Piccoli will be racing in the men’s contest; the women’s start list is very hazy at this point.

James Piccoli will race the Ardennes Classics this week.

The final prong of the Ardennes Week trident, Amstel Gold Race, is October 10.

This packed, rescheduled schedule is heading to Race Heaven on October 25, when the Giro concludes in Milan, the Vuelta a España climbs the Tourmalet and the Hell of the North, Paris-Roubaix, clatters and bumps along in France.