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Tour de l'Ain, also known as the Prix de l'Amitié, is an annual professional cycling stage race held in May in eastern France. Before 2018, the race was held in mid-August.

Tour de l'Ain
DateMay
RegionFrance
English nameTour of the Ain
Race of Friendship
Local name(s)Tour de l'Ain
Prix de l'Amitié
DisciplineRoad
CompetitionUCI Europe Tour 2.1
TypeStage race
OrganiserAlpes Vélo
Web sitewww.tourdelain.com Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1989 (1989)
Editions31 (as of 2019)
First winner Serge Pires Leal (FRA)
Most wins Denis Celle (FRA)
 Thibaut Pinot (FRA)
(2 wins each)
Most recent Thibaut Pinot (FRA)

G.P. de l'AmitiéEdit

The first edition of the race was in 1970, as the G.P. de l'Amitié (Friendship G.P.). It was held over four or five days in early September and served as a preparation for the Tour de l'Avenir, thus attracting also international riders, especially the Spanish team. The course ran straight across the French Alpes, starting in Nice, on the Côte d'Azur, and finishing in Bourg-en-Bresse, the capital of the Bresse region, north of Lyon, at the base of the Jura mountain range. Main difficulty was the mountain finish on Les Orres. In uneven years the course was reversed: from Bourg to Nice. As the Tour de l'Avenir threatened to be cancelled in 1976, the G.P. de l'Amitié jumped in and served as replacement, expanding the race to nine days. The execution of this event strained the organisation so much that it had to back down. From 1978 onwards the race merely had a national field of participants and was conducted only in the Provence Alpes, starting and finishing in Nice, still with the mountain finish on Les Orres. The organisation recovered however, and opened their race to professionals in 1986. A lot of French riders used this tough race - from Nice, via Valloire (over the Galibier), to Combloux - as a preparation for the Tour de l'Avenir.

Tour de l'AinEdit

In 1989 new organizers came, Dante Lavacca, Armand Peracca, and Maurice Josserand. They took the race back to its roots, to Bourg-en-Bresse, and changed its name into Tour de l'Ain. From 1989 to 1992 it was an amateur event. In 1993 it became open to professionals. In 1999 Cyclisme Organisation took over the organizing of the event and in the 1999 edition for the first time the climb of the Grand Colombier was included. The race had a 2.5 UCI (pro-am) status but was in 2002 promoted to the professional 2.3 category. Since the inception of the UCI ProTour and the UCI Continental circuits in 2005, the race has been classed into category 2.1 (in which all former 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 races were combined).[1] The race, which travels through the Ain departement into the Jura Mountains, combines both sprinting and mountainous stages. The 1,534 metre high Grand Colombier has featured as a decisive climb in the stage race. The 2018 version consisted of three stages; while previous versions of the event contained four or five stages (including prologues).

WinnersEdit

Year Country Rider Team
1972   France Antoine Gutierrez
1973   France Richard Pianaro
1974   Spain Enrique Martinez Heredia
1975   Spain Angel Lopez del Alamo
1976   Sweden Sven-Åke Nilsson
1977   France Joël Millard
1978   France Michel Charlier
1979   France Vincent Lavenu
1980   France Gilles Mas
1981   France Daniel André
1982   France Bernard Faussurier
1983   France Denis Celle
1984   France Denis Celle
1985   Poland Sylvain Oswarek
1986   France Patrice Esnault Kas
1987   France Laurent Biondi Système U
1988   France Mauro Ribeiro RMO
1989   France Serge Pires Leal
1990   France Denis Moretti
1991   France Eric Drubay
1992   France Denis Leproux
1993   France Emmanuel Magnien Castorama
1994   France Lylian Lebreton Aubervilliers 93-Peugeot
1995   France Emmanuel Hubert Le Groupement
1996   France David Delrieu Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne
1997   United States Bobby Julich Cofidis
1998   Italy Cristian Gasperoni Amore & Vita-Forzacore
1999   Poland Grzegorz Gwiazdowski Cofidis
2000   Kazakhstan Serguei Yakovlev Besson Chaussures
2001   Bulgaria Ivaïlo Gabrovski Jean Delatour
2002   Germany Christophe Oriol AG2R Prévoyance
2003   Belgium Axel Merckx Lotto–Domo
2004   France Jérôme Pineau Brioches La Boulangère
2005   France Carl Naibo Bretagne-Jean Floc'h
2006   France Cyril Dessel AG2R Prévoyance
2007   France John Gadret AG2R Prévoyance
2008   Germany Linus Gerdemann Team Columbia
2009   Estonia Rein Taaramäe Cofidis
2010   Spain Haimar Zubeldia Team RadioShack
2011   France David Moncoutié Cofidis
2012   United States Andrew Talansky Garmin–Sharp
2013   France Romain Bardet Ag2r–La Mondiale
2014   Netherlands Bert-Jan Lindeman Rabobank Development Team
2015   France Alexandre Geniez FDJ
2016   Netherlands Sam Oomen Team Giant–Alpecin
2017   France Thibaut Pinot FDJ
2018   France Arthur Vichot Groupama–FDJ
2019   France Thibaut Pinot Groupama–FDJ

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Historique du Tour de l'Ain". Tour de l’Ain. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-17.

External linksEdit