Scottish-based UCI Pro Continental Team Endura Racing are off to Finistère for a tough weekend of racing.
Tour de Finistère, a 186km race, is on Saturday and on Sunday there is the Tro-Bro-Leon at 206km. It’s going to be a hard weekend for the likes of Maarten de Jonge, Alex Wetterhall and Jack Bauer. Full teams for each race on the Endura Racing website.
Tour of Finistère looks like a spiky parcours and although I’m far from a pro with previewing these events it’s sure to be tough, with Brittany famed for its winds. The start is right the coast, and the route winds down to a finish in Quimper.
Tro-Bro Leon (Tour of Leon in the Celtic Breton language) is really interesting as it involves cobbles, dirt roads, and gravel tracks on the typically rolling, windy Breton lanscape. There are no big hills here but it shouldn’t be seen as easy terrain.
The website is worth a look as it has some nice publicity material and route maps that show the 21 off-road sections, all with a classy integrated design.
Last year the Endura Racing team was hampered by volcanic ash, making travel to Brittany a struggle, and most of the riders found it tough or suffered mechanicals or crashes, although Jack Bauer made it into the front group in Tour of Finistère. You can see from the photos that it was a hard race for the guys against Pro Tour and top Pro Continental teams like AG2R, Cofidis, FDJ, BBox and Vacansoleil. It was a class field with grand tour riders such as Leonardo Duque, Anthony Charteau, Jeremy Roy and Brice Feillu.
An update from Endura Racing mechanic Brendan Milliken: the team are running Zipp 101 wheels with 25mm Continental 4 Season tyres to deal with the terrain.
James Moss battling on the gravel roads
The team has added new recruits to the roster- the likes of Rene Mandri and Iker Camano who arrived late last year. They have won two stage races so far: The Tour of Normandy with Alex Blain and the Cinturon of Majorca with Camano. Having done the Finistère races once before the DS’ and mechanic know what to expect and will be hoping for a good weekend this year.
Race images courtesy of Jean-Yves Queffelec aka ‘mr keff’ on flickr- there is a great set of shots of the event- click on the images above to go through to flickr and see the rest of them.
Tour of Finistère is on French Eurosport, and Tro-Bro will be on France3 Bretagne, so there might even be web feeds if you can find them- try cyclingfans or steephill.tv. Otherwise tweets from enduraracing, and the likes of antmacrossan and Brismithy will keep us up to date.