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UCI Europe Tour : Van Hummel still in the lead




Kenny Van Hummel of Holland kept top spot in the UCI Europe ranking for June.

The 27 year-old Skil-Shimano sprinter added just six points to his individual total but his success in May, where he won the Dutch Food Valley Classic, the Tour de Rijke, the Batavus Pro Race, the Ronde van Overijssel and a stage at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, meant he still has a safe lead on the rest of the UCI Europe Tour.

Experienced Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes) climbed from third place to second with 456.2 points thanks to winning a stage at the Delta Tour in Holland and finishing second overall. Early 2009 rankings leader Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures) slipped to third place with 439 points.

"I'm obviously very proud to keep the lead in the Europe Tour ranking because it kind of proves I'm the best Pro-continental or Continental rider in Europe,” Van Hummel said.

“It's great to wear the special white jersey as leader and naturally I'll do everything I can to defend it for as long as possible.”

Van Hummel was disappointed to finish second in the recent Dutch national road race championships but is expected to fight for victory in the sprints at the Tour de France.

Of course it takes more than one rider to make a winning team and Skil-Shimano is only fifth in the UCI Europe Tour rankings.

French squad Agritubel leads the ranking yet again after a successful month of racing in June. Agritubel riders scored a total of 235 points, extending their total to 1472. The new Vacansoleil team from Holland also scored well with a string of results. It now has a total of 1196 points and closed the gap on Agritubel, but is still 276 points behind.

LPR Brakes is third with 1040 points. Besson Chaussures is fourth with

939 points and Skil-Shimano is fifth with 899 points.

The nations standings remains unchanged this month. Italy still leads with 2,324.6 points. France is second with 2,150 points and, thanks to Van Hummel, the Netherlands is third with 1,602.6 points.

In professional cycling, July is the month of the Tour de France but the UCI Europe Tour continues with a series of stage races and one-day races.

The week-long Tour of Austria begins on July 5, while the Sachsen-Tour International um den Sparkassen-Cup in Germany (July 22-26) and the Brixia Tour in Italy (July 22-25) offer precious points. All three stage races offer Petacchi and Casper a chance to pull back points on Van Hummel before the final three months of racing.