Kenny may have abandoned the Tour de France, but don’t forget that there’s a fourth and a fifth week of the Tour – the post tour criterium circus. Assuming Kenny’s leg injury is okay, I guarantee we’ll see this popular rider winning one of these crits in front of his hometown crowd in Holland. How can I guarantee this? Well, I’d hate to go as far as saying these races are fixed, but these races are fixed! Not to mention there are no hills in these crits and Kenny is already a gun sprinter, the odds are pretty good that we’ll seeing some of this:
During the first 2 weeks straight after the Tour, towns throughout Europe hold criteriums where the Tour riders line up against local riders in circuit races around 2 hours in length. These races are a show that the riders put on for the fans to see their heroes in person after the Tour de France. It’s basically a publicity exercise for the riders and teams where they get to promote their sponsors. Most of the riders don’t earn a great deal of prize money during the Tour, so they can make up for it in appearance money by riding the post Tour crits. Jersey winners from tour can make appearance fees between 20-60 thousand euro and the others get the rest. For example, the budget of a criterium such as the Ronde van Boxmeer is approx 135,000 euro. If a rider like Contador costs 60,000 euro, and a few local TdF heroes are given another 35,000 euro, the organizer makes the choice as to how many (and which) Tour riders he wants with the remainder of that budget as well as allocating prize money. (info taken from here)
Before the age of high base salaries (but still pretty meagre for a pro athlete) , post-Tour criteriums used to be an important part of a rider’s program, as they could earn a lot more money in proportion to their normal salaries.
Keep an eye on Kenny in some of these post tour crits!