ASO partnership with Volta a Catalunya confirmed - News Shorts

BMC, Quick-Step for Dwars door Vlaanderen; African track championships halted after rider dies

The rumoured partnership between the Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya was confirmed by the ASO on Monday.

The oldest Spanish stage race, which is currently taking place, has survived on support from the Catalan government, but recently signed a major sponsor in Carrefour, which also backs several of ASO's races.

Rubén Peris, the chairman of the race's organising club, explained, "We will benefit straight away from ASO's expertise in areas such as image production and distribution of TV rights, which will help us bring our broadcasts up to the highest standards."

ASO, which also organises Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne, Paris-Tours, Paris-Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Vuelta a Espana, has similar stakes in the Tour of Oman, Tour de Yorkshire, Arctic Race of Norway, and the Tour of California.

Yann Le Moenner, the ASO's general director, emphasised his company's part in the race's future. "This partnership ensures we'll be there for the 100th edition of the Volta a Catalunya in 2020 and tackle future challenges together," he said.

Davide Cimolai (FDJ) on the Volta Catalunya podium after winning stage 1

Drucker steps up to lead BMC at Dwars Door Vlaanderen

BMC Racing will back Luxembourger Jempy Drucker at the upcoming Dwars door Vlaanderen, according to directeur sportif Fabio Baldato.

The race serves as a warm up for the Tour of Flanders, featuring the same Oude Kwaremont/Paterberg climb near the end of the race, but the course is 86km shorter and racers only hit them once.

Most often the race comes down to a bunch sprint, although the Nokereberg with 9.4km to go often serves as a launchpad for late attacks. Greg Van Avermaet attacked there last year but was caught by the peloton in sight of the line.

"We will have Jempy Drucker if the race ends in a bunch sprint, and Stefan Küng is definitely able to jump in a good move that hopefully makes it to the line," Baldato said. "Last year, we saw Greg Van Avermaet make a good move in the finale so anything can happen, especially this year with the additional cobble sector before the finish."

This year, Van Avermaet will skip the race before returning for the E3 Harelbeke, leaving Drucker with the chance to go for his own result.

"I am really motivated for Dwars Door Vlaanderen as it is the start of the real Flemish Classic block," Drucker said. "These are the races I have been training for all winter, and as Greg Van Avermaet isn't lining up, it will be nice to have a free card to play for myself."

BMC Racing roster for Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Tom Bohli , Jempy Drucker, Martin Elmiger, Floris Gerts, Stefan Küng, Miles Scotson, Francisco Ventoso, and Loïc Vliegen.

Jempy Drucker (BMC) celebrates his win

Terpstra looks for third Dwars Door Vlaanderen victory

Few races suit Quick-Step Floors' Niki Terpstra better than the Dwars Door Vlaanderen, and the Dutchman will return to conquer the Nokereberg in pursuit of the outright record of victories in the semi-Classic.

Terpstra has a formula: go from the Paterberg with 31km to go and solo to victory. He's done it twice - first in 2012 and then again in 2014.

However, the team could also focus its strategy on controlling the race for a bunch sprint, with Fernando Gaviria on the roster, or try for a late attack from Zdenek Stybar or Philippe Gilbert.

Quick-Step Floors for Dwars door Vlaanderen: Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra.

Egyptian racer's death shortens African track championships

The African Continental Track Championships in Durban, South Africa, were halted after Egyptian cyclist Eslam Nasser Zaki died while participating in the elite men's Omnium tempo race.

According to Cycling South Africa, the 22-year-old was riding alone when he suddenly crashed. Medics arrived quickly and attempted to resuscitate him, but after prolonged attempts, he was declared dead.

The afternoon events were suspended, but racing will resume on Tuesday.

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