Mark Cavendish belatedly celebrated winning the 2016 UCI Asia Tour ranking on Monday, posting a photo of the glass trophy on Instagram and thanking his Dimension Data teammates for their role in the success.
Although Cavendish rides for the Dimension Data WorldTour team, his impressive results in races on the Asia calendar ensured he topped the ranking at the official end of the 2016 season.
The Manxman won three stages and the overall general classification at the Tour of Qatar and two stages the Abu Dhabi Tour, and he was second at the World Championships in Qatar, scoring a total of 800 ranking points. Reigning world champion Peter Sagan, who now rides for Bora-hansgrohe after two seasons with Tinkoff, finished second with 600 points. Trek-Segafredo's Giacomo Nizzolo was third with 488 points.
Meersman yet to ride since announcing retirement
Belgian Gianni Meersman has revealed that he is yet to ride a bike since cardiac issues forced him into a premature retirement. The 31-year-old explained to Sporza that while initially he was coping with the diagnosis, it has become harder to accept with the early-season now in full swing.
"In the first week it was quite easy to cope with it but in the last days it's becoming more difficult. Most of my cycling friends are in foreign countries, competing or on the podium," Meersman told Sporza. "When you see those pictures, it hurts. Since the announcement of my retirement, I have not pedalled a metre."
While Meersman’s six-year-old daughter recently told him she was “so happy you're home now”, he explained his is struggling to fill his days without the bike.
"My wife works and my daughter goes to school. Meanwhile, I'm sitting home alone. I watch some movies, try to keep the house in order. All the dumb things so I don't stay seated."
"In the meantime I'm gradually working for my future. It won't necessarily be in cycling, although I would like to help some young riders to make their dreams come true. That's what I would do. I'm not made to sit in my house the entire day or to work from 9 to 5."
Turning professional with Discovery Channel in 2007, Meersman enjoyed 20 victories in his career including two stage wins at the Vuelta a España last year with Etixx-Quick-Step. He had signed a deal with the French Pro-Continental Fortuneo - Vital Concept team from the 2017 season before the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia in December.
2013 champion Tony Martin leads Katusha-Alpecin at Volta ao Algarve
Tony Martin headlines Katusha-Alpecin's international roster for this week's Volta ao Algarve. The German put in an impressive solo ride on stage 2 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to take his first win in Katusha-Alpecin colours and is aiming for further success in the Iberian Peninsula this week.
Martin won the 2013 Volta ao Algarve overall and enjoyed a stint in the leader's jersey at last year's edition of the race. A three time winner of the race's time trial, Martin is sure to once again target the test against the clock.
The world time trial champion will be joined by Portuguese duo José Gonçalves and Tiago Machado, Danish neo-pro Mads Würtz Schmidt, Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrom, Dutchman Maurits Lammertink, Belgian Baptiste Planckaert and Slovenian Simon Spilak.
The 2017 Volta ao Algarve starts February 15 with stage 1 taking the riders west to Lagos.
Fractured right femur for Kevin Ledanois
Former under-23 world champion Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo - Vital Concept) faces at least a month on the sidelines after he fractured his right femur in a crash at the Trofeo Laigueglia on Sunday. The incident took the shine off teammate Romain Hardy's second place finish at the 1.HC Italian race.
Ledanois explained that he couldn't avoid falling once teammate Pierre-Luc Perichon went down ahead of him. When he tried to stand up after the crash, it was immediately clear to Ledanois that he had done serious damage.
"I was transported to the hospital, suffering from a pertrochanteric fracture of the right femur,” said Ledanois, who was operated on in Paris. "It could have been worse, nothing is moved so I do not go too badly. It's a shame to fall early in the season when I felt good, but it could have been much more serious."
The 23-year-old started his season with all four Challenge Majorca events in January and was due to line up at La Provence before the French one-day La Drôme and Sud Ardèche races.