Jeroen Blijlevens has said he is happy for a second chance as directeur sportif of the WM3 Pro Cycling Team. Blijlevens was one of the team's controversial appointments, when he was named last November.
The Dutchman, a former rider, was a directeur sportif at the Rabobank women's team and the men's Belkin squad. However, he left the sport following his confession about using EPO during his racing career.
Speaking to omroepbrabant.nl at the team presentation on Tuesday, Blijlevens said, "I'm glad to get a second chance," he said. "It was taken away from me, of course, that was my fault. You've always walking around with it. It felt like a liberation that I was able to tell, but it's not been a nice time. I can now do something to the other side. If you see signs, you have to ask questions right away."
VéloConcept women to ride Cervélo in 2017
VéloConcept women and their male counterparts will ride Cervélo bikes for the forthcoming season, the team has confirmed. Rumours emerged in December that a deal had been done and the team has published photographs of the riders on Cervélo bikes but only on Wednesday did they make the deal official.
VéloConcept, which was previously BMS BIRN, is the latest cycling project for Bjarne Riis, who owned the CSC/Saxo Bank squad, and Lars Seier Christensen, the co-founder of the Saxo Bank company. Riders for the team include Carman Small, Sara Mustonen and time trial world champion Amber Neben.
Riis worked with Cervélo between 2003 and 2008 before the company set out to create the Cervélo Test Team for the 2009 season. Cervélo already supply bikes to the Cervélo-Bigla women's team.
"Cervélo is one of the absolute best when it comes to aerodynamics. Their bikes perform at a very high level, and I am very glad to once again work with them. We have a great understanding for each other. I know their product, and it keeps on improving," Riis said in a statement.
26 teams named for Semana Ciclista Valenciana
A total of 26 teams have been named for the inaugural Semana Ciclista Valenciana, next month. The four-day race has been categorised 2.2 for its opening edition and will take place between March 8-11.
The line-up will include teams such as Wiggle-High5, Cérvelo-Bigla, Drops, Alé Cipollini and the Astana Women's Team. Five national squads will also line-up, including representation from Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Spain.
The route will bring the riders down the east coast of Spain with Vila-Real, Valencia, Gandia and Alicante set to host the race. Each stage will start and finish in the same place.
No riders have been confirmed for the race but an image of Wiggle-High5's Giorgia Bronzini was included with the announcement on Facebook, perhaps hinting that the Italian will be there in a month's time.
Full team line-up: Alé Cipollini, Aromitalia Vaiano, Astana Women's Team, BePink Cogeas, Bizkaia-Durango, BZK-Smurfit Kappa, Cervélo Bigla, Drops, Equipo Bolivia Femenino, Giusfredi-Bianchi, Hyundai Koryo Car, Lares-Waowdeals, Lointek, MAASLANDSTER Veris CCN, SAS Macogep, Servetto Giusta, Sport Vlaanderen-Etixx, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, Team WNT Pro Cycling, Valcar-PBM, Wiggle-High5, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Spain.
Cant closing in on second Superprestige title
Sanne Cant (IKO Enertherm-Beobank) is closing in on her second consecutive Superprestige title at this weekend's final round in Middelkerke. Cant holds a 14-point lead over Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet Fidea) and is 25 points clear of third place rider Sophie de Boer (Breepark). They are only two that could mathematically overtake the new world champion in the standings.
This year is only the second running of a general classification competition for the women, with Cant taking the inaugural one last season. Despite battling illness since her Worlds victory in Bieles, Luxembourg, Cant has finished no lower than fourth in the Superprestige competition. Double points are to be awarded, as they were in the previous round in Hoogstraten, meaning that 30 points are up for grabs at the weekend. Cant only has to finish eighth to ensure she takes home the series win for the second year running.
Women's WorldTour teaser
The second running of the Women's WorldTour will get underway in less than a month's time with Strade Bianche at the beginning of March. In honour of this, the UCI has published a short teaser video, featuring some of the action from last year's competition.
Megan Guarnier won the inaugural Women's WorldTour title last year in convincing style ahead of her new Boels-Dolmans teammate Anna van der Breggen (then with Rabo-Liv). This season's series will see the number of competition days rise to 46, with 20 races in total, including new events such as the Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour and the Ladies Tour of Norway. One race has disappeared, as the Philadelphia Classic struggled to find funding to continue this year.
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