Lampre-Merida and Lotto-Belisol confirmed for 2013 Tropicale Amissa Bongo
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Lampre-Merida and Lotto-Belisol confirmed for 2013 Tropicale Amissa Bongo

by Ben Atkins at 12:10 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
WorldTour teams’ participation increase the profile of Africa’s biggest race

anthony charteauThe organisers of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo have confirmed the participation of both the Lampre-Merida and Lotto-Belisol teams for the eighth edition between January 14th and 20th, 2013. The seven day tour in the Gabonese Republic, on the west coast of central Africa, is the only 2.1-ranked race in the vast continent, and the addition of two WorldTour teams in next year’s edition should further increase its profile.

The race has long been an early season warm-weather test for the French teams - although last year’s race was held in late April - with riders from FDJ taking the first four editions, and Europcar’s Anthony Charteau (pictured) winning the last three. Europcar has also confirmed its presence in next year’s race, along with fellow French Professional Continental team Cofidis; this means that four major European teams will be on the start line in the northern city of Bitam.

Over the years the African race has seen many of France’s stars begin their seasons; Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) got his 2010 season under way on the Gabon roads, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) rode in 2011 [both riders coincidentally went on to win the French championships in those years - ed] while Pierre Rolland (Europcar) took his first ever professional win there as a neo-pro in 2007.

Irishman Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) have also begun their seasons at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, among the 44 different nationalities that have enriched the African peloton since the race’s inception in 2006.

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