FDJ announce first five riders for 2018 Tour Down Under - News Shorts

Deep field for NZ men's road race, Team GB for 'Cross Namur World Cup, Nash elected president of UCI Athletes Commission

FDJ's first five for the 2018 Tour Down Under

French WorldTour team FDJ have announced their first five riders for next month's Tour Down Under in Adelaide, South Australia. A further two riders will be announced in the comings weeks. New FDJ recruits Austrian Georg Preidler and Canadian Antoine Duchesne will debut for the team at the WorldTour opener.

From 2018 the team will also be known as Groupama-FDJ, with their new kit likely to debut at the Tour Down Under.

Steve Morabito returns to the race for the first time since finishing ninth overall in 2015. The Swiss veteran will make his sixth appearance at the race in 2018.

Norweigan Daniel Hoelgaard and Frenchman Anthony Roux have also been named on the provisional roster.

In recent years, FDJ have taken a young and predominately French team to Adelaide for the WorldTour opener. With the first five riders on the roster representing five different nationalities, the team could potentially continue the trend when their final team is announced.

Quality start list for New Zealand men's road race titles

Six WorldTour cyclists will line out for the New Zealand national road titles in early January with a high-class start list set to assemble in Napier.

Former champion Jack Bauer will be joined by Mitchelton-Scott teammate Sam Bewley, with George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Paddy Bevin (BMC), Tom Scully (EF Education First-Drapac), and Alex Frame (Trek-Segafredo) are also listed as provisional starters.

Joe Copper, champion in 2017 and 2015, and 2016 winner Jason Christie will also line out for the race for their respective Continental teams. From the Pro-Continental ranks, Aaron Gate and Shane Archbold will represent Aqua Blue Sport, while Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Hamish Schreurs (Israel Cycling Academy) also starting their seasons with the national title.

"I can't recall so many New Zealand riders in World Tour and other significant professional teams around the world," said Cycling New Zealand's Graeme Hunn. "That is not only going to make the race a fantastic spectacle, it is also encouraging for our sport going forward, especially with the young riders coming through our endurance track programme and our Subway Regional Performance Hubs."

The men's 171-kilometre race will take place on a similar course to 2017 with a new flat finish to feature come Sunday, January 7. In total, 51 riders will start the men's race.

The national time trial title will take place around the Church Road Winery over a distance of 40 kilometres. Bauer is the current national time trial champion.

Team GB for 'Cross Namur World Cup

British Cycling has named a 14-rider team to compete at the Namur Cyclo-cross World Cup December 17. The riders will compete across the elite women, U23 men, and junior men categories.

The Namur round is the penultimate World Cup of the year with racing to continue at Heusden-Zolder on December 26. There are two further rounds of the World Cup in January before the Worlds from 3 February.

"Competing on the world cup course in Namur will be a key part of the squad's preparations for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in February next year, as the course is hilly and quite similar in style to the course in Valkenburg," said British Cycling cyclo-cross co-ordinator Matt Ellis.

Junior 'cross world champion Tom Pidcock, Dan Tulett and Ben Turner headline the U23 men's team of six riders that will include some member of the national mountain bike squad. In the women's squad, Evie Richards will be aiming to parlay her mountain bike World Cup form in the 'cross equivalent.

"This world cup marks the end of a nine-day Belgian based training camp for nine of the riders representing Great Britain," Ellis said. "Junior rider Ben Tulett won the Vlaamse Druivencross event last weekend and we saw some great performances from British riders which has boosted the mood of the camp, so there's plenty of excitement to get racing again this weekend." 

Although not competing under the Team GB banner, Nikki Brammeier, Beth Crumpton, Grant Ferguson, Ian Field, Ffion James and Helen Wyman will race the World Cup round in the colours of their trade teams. 

Nash elected president of UCI Athletes Commission

Czech mountain bike and cyclo-cross star Katerina Nash has been elected president of the UCI's Athlete Commission during meetings held Tuesday, December 12, and Wednesday, December 13, at the federation’s headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland

A former cross-country skier, Nash has appeared at five Olympic Games (two Winter and three Summer). She has won two UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship bronze medals, in 2011 and 2017, as well as one silver (2016) and two bronze (2010 and 2014) in the team relay at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. She also has a degree in business.

“I’m excited because I have been an athlete all my life, and this is a chance to give back to the sport that has given me so much for so long," Nash said in a statement released by the UCI.

“It’s important that athletes have a voice and I am really pleased to be a link between the UCI and the athletes. This was already the case as a member of the Cyclo-cross Commission, but as president of the Athletes’ Commission, I will be invited to all the most important meetings and be given the opportunity to stand up and be heard. I will be representing all the disciplines, and I am really excited. If you want to change anything, you have to be part of the process.”

Nash, who previously served on the cycle-cross commission, said she'll have time for her added duties because she is nearing the end of her career and "it is good to focus on something else.”

Nash was elected to a four-year term and will automatically have a seat on the UCI Management Committee, the UCI's executive body 

The Athletes Commission, which has this year seen an increase in the representation of cycling’s various disciplines, is made up of 20 members, including the president. There are two representatives for each discipline, one male and one female: road, track cycling, XCO mountain bike, DHI mountain bike, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle, para-cycling, cyclo-cross, trials and indoor cycling.

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